360networks files for bankruptcy

Canadian telecommunication carrier 360networks Inc., along with several of its subsidiaries and affiliates, has filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada and the United States, the company said in a statement Thursday.

The company said it would use its US$155 million of unrestricted cash, cash equivalents, short-term investments and marketable securities on hand to fund ongoing operations in the two countries and to complete key segments in its network.

Thursday’s filings will provide the company with the opportunity to reorganize and concentrate on its core business, president and CEO Greg Maffei said in the statement.

The troubled fiber-optic network operator announced earlier this week that it would slash its workforce by nearly half, shedding 800 jobs worldwide [See story –

360networks announces job cuts]

. Earlier this month, 360networks canceled a deal to acquire wholesale ISP (Internet service provider) NetRail Inc., after announcing it would not make a scheduled $10.9 million bond interest payment.

The company had promoted an ambitious plan to link some 100 major cities in North America, Europe, South America and Asia with a network spanning approximately 140,000 kilometres, but ran up against declining telecommunication sales and unfriendly capital markets.

360networks Inc., in Vancouver, can be reached at http://www.360.com/.