Cable & Wireless builds 100G European network

The telecoms company extends its network capabilities across Europe as questions remain over its future.

Cable & Wireless Worldwide (C&WW) today announced plans for a 100G network for Europe to prepare its infrastructure for future data needs.

The firm already has a 40G network between continents, but with this new network running alongside its existing line, C&WW will be able to provide larger capacity connections and better performance for customers.

At over 2,800km long, the company claims it is the longest 100G line in Europe and it will build on the capabilities of the Europe India Gateway, built by 16 partners including C&WW between London and India to bring greater connectivity between the two continents via an undersea cable system.

Rather than digging up and starting again with this new network, C&WW will be installing technologies from Ciena which work to upgrade the existing 40G connection.

The company’s WaveLogic processors running within its 6500 packet-optical platform process the signal to upgrade its capacity, and with an intelligent receiver in the right places can spread this performance far and wide across a network.

The two companies have been partners on a number of network projects, and John Paul Hemingway, EMEA vice-president of strategic development at Ciena, praised the latest project.

“The explosive demand for capacity promises to continue as the number of public and private network connections increases for consumers and businesses and as these connections support bandwidth-intensive applications such as video and remote storage,” he said.

“Addressing this challenge requires a future-proof network that combines intelligence and high capacity,” said Hemingway.

The network will begin in London and run through to Monaco, with specific drop-off points along the route, including Frankfurt, Milan, Dusseldorf and Amsterdam.

Sale to Vodafone looks shaky

The new launch may act as a distraction for C&WW, which is currently at the centre of an unfolding acquisition drama.

The company has been looking for a buyer since soon after its split with the telecoms arm of Cable & Wireless in 2010 as it began to struggle with revenues from the purely business side of the networking world.

India-based Tata Communications and Vodafone became the two front runners, but the former dropped out, leaving the latter with a £1bn bid on the table, accepted with a sigh of relief from C&WW.

However, it was revealed late last week that C&WW’s largest shareholder – international fund manager Orbis – did not back the deal, which could put it in jeopardy.

"Although we believe the C&WW management team has handled the bid process responsibly, we have declined to give an irrevocable undertaking or letter of intent to support the transaction,” said a statement from the firm. 

Both C&WW and Vodafone are hoping the deal will proceed in the third quarter of 2012, making Vodafone the second biggest telecoms firm behind BT, but it will need 75% backing for the acquisition to go through, and Orbis holds 19%.

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