Marconi to help build Fibernet’s German Network

Marconi will supply its SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy) and DWDM (Dense Wave Division Multiplexing) equipment, the company said in a statement. The network will be capable of supporting 80 separate channels at speeds of up to 10G bps (bits per second) per channel.

“The network will be built the same way our U.K. one has been,” said Nigel Pitcher, Fibernet’s marketing director. “All of the long-distance routes are based upon multiple pairs of leased dark fibres; we’re leasing on a 20 to 25-year basis.” Marconi’s technology will help light those leased fibres, he added.

The German project is the first in a series of planned networks outside Fibernet’s U.K. base, said Pitcher. “By the end of this calendar year, we would hope to have a good proportion of the (German) national network lit, which would take us to at least 30 of the first- and second-tier cities.” He added that six cities in Switzerland are being linked as a subsidiary of the German operation.

“By the first quarter of next year, assuming that our French license application proceeds with success, we would have a similar-sized network, again focused on just French national geography,” said Pitcher. “Then, probably in 2002, we would hope to replicate that in Italy.”

Fibernet’s strategy differentiates itself from other that of companies, which are focused on linking major European business centers, said telecoms analyst Bernd Ostergaard of the Giga Information Group Inc. in Copenhagen. “The overall backbone strategy is: you start out with the ‘Golden Triangle’ of London, Paris, and Frankfurt,” he said, “and then you expand to Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg), and second-tier cities.”

Ostergaard continued, “The second expansion strategy is to try to link the key business cities in a country, and then build metropolitan networks around that. Fibernet is very much into that … it’s much like the DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) experience; you’re looking for poorly-served areas.”

Pitcher said Fibernet had chosen its expansion model after studying business network usage patterns in Europe, and finding that international traffic was only a small portion. “We’re slightly bemused by the massive amount of pan-European networks being built; there are no less than 20 companies, largely American organizations, that are building these,” he said. “When we looked at the demographics, it became absolutely apparent that 85 percent of an individual country’s traffic moves within national boundaries.”

Fibernet, in Aldermaston, England, can be reached at +44-118-940-8500 or on the Web at Marconi, in London, can be reached at +44-20-7493-8484 or at