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May 5, 1988

FRANCO-GERMAN STATE VALUE-ADDED NET PLAN STUNS EURO-PTTs

By CBR Staff Writer

Telephones were ringing off the wall at the Bonn headquarters of the Deutsche Bundespost yesterday following a Financial Times story that the West German PTT had agreed the establishment of a joint venture company with France Telecom to offer pan-European value-added network services in competition with the likes of IBM and General Electric Information Services. And the callers? They were the Bundespost’s sibling PTTs all over Europe, who thought that an orderly entry into the value-added network market by all PTTs in concert under the auspices of CEPT, the Conference on European Posts & Telecommunications had been agreed, and were demanding to know how the Franco-German initiative would fit in with that plan. Some 15 European PTTs have agreed to a Managed Data Network Services project which is due to begin operations next year, and despite soothing noises from Bonn, questions still clearly remain to be answered. The French and German PTTs are expected to announce details of their proposed new company shortly, and as well as offering its own services, the proposed company would reportedly seek to acquire stakes in existing value-added network operators. The proposed new company is the latest development in a growing Bonn-Paris axis on telecommunications which started to develop after the Bundespost finally dropped its resistance to the Minitel viewdata service being offered in Germany last November. Since then, the two state bodies have announced plans for a fibre optic link to carry integrated services digital networking traffic between Mulhouse in France and Karlsruhe, West Germany.

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