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March 1, 1999


By CBR Staff Writer

Frontier Corp now has what it claims is the first nationwide IP backbone to operate at OC-48 speeds (2.5Gbps). The Optronics backbone, which stretches from San Francisco to New York through 11 hubs will begin operations on March 15. It’s all part of the company’s wish to become a more data-centric company: if we just stay as a voice company, we’re dead, says CEO Joe Clayton, who has been trying to transform the company, which started as Rochester Telephone 100 years ago, into a multifaceted communications group. The company is building more of what it calls media data centers where it hosts web sites for a lot of the major web sites, including Yahoo! Inc. It is about to open its second facility in Sunnyvale comprising 75,000 square feet and has just opened another one in lower Manhattan encompassing 50,000 square feet, which was 50% full within 60 days of its opening in January. There will be four more this year and another five next. They cost about $12m to $15m each to build and take about 90 days to complete, but the company says that as its web traffic is doubling every six months, it needs all the capacity it can get. In fact, it ran out of space in September 1998 and Clayton is determined that will never happen again: this is not low-hanging fruit, he says, it’s fruit on the ground that you’ve got to pick up. Demand is outstripping supply by a wide margin, he says and he is not worried about gluts. Frontier got into the data center business when it acquired GlobalCenter in February 1998 and is now getting about 54 billion server hits a month.

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