Qwest Communications International Inc, the US company that is building a $2bn high speed fiber optic network around North America, has acquired a privately held Denver, Colorado-based internet service provider SuperNet for $20m, though no details have been revealed of how payment will be made. SuperNet gives Qwest 10,000 business customers for its high speed network, and Internet Protocol networking expertise. Qwest has also announced an alliance with data networking giant Cisco Systems Inc, which is going to supply its next generation of high speed routers the Cisco 1200 series that operate at OC-12, 622Mbps speeds. Qwest’s network is to have 48 fiber pairs running at OC-192 speeds on eight wavelengths, each fiber pair will therefore carry 80Gbps of information, current ISP backbones run at around OC-3, 122Mbps speed which is 500 times slower. Therefore Cisco has got some way to go before its top line routers will handle this kind of speed, which is why Cisco is allying with Qwest. It is planning to scale its routers up to OC-192 speeds, and needs a network to test them in. Qwest is funding the building of the network by selling off extra fibers. It sold 48 for $500m to Frontier Corp, and 24 for and unspecified sum to US telco GTE Corp. Qwest also raised $279m in an IPO in June (CI No 3,190). The network is due to be completed in late 1998.
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