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November 4, 1991


By CBR Staff Writer

Cable & Wireless Plc has taken its first steps towards conquering Russia with joint venture agreements to establish and operate Digital Overlay Networks in two newly-established Free Economic Zones in Makhodka and Sakhalin in the far east of Russia. It already has experience of telecommunications in economic zones in China, and the new telephone, facsimile and data communications services will also be run from Hong Kong Telecom Ltd, which will provide the gateway to the rest of the world. Services are due to start early next year, with international exchanges installed in each of the zones, connected via 34Mbps microwave links to local satellite earth stations beaming to and from the AsiaSat bird, which is one-third owned by Cable & Wireless. The UK company has 50% of each of the joint ventures – the local partners in Nakhodka Telecom are Comincom Ltd, a Recognised Private Operating Agency under the new rules and set up to install and operate Digital Overlay Networks, the Association of Nakhodka Free Economic Zone, and the Far East Shipping Co; those in Sakhalin Telecom are Comincom and Sakhalin Regional Broadcasting Radio-TV Centre. The planned first year investment in the franchises, which run for 25 years, is put at $10m, and should climb to at least $50m over the first 10 years.

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