UUNet launches in Australia and NZ

UUNet has inherited more than 50,000 corporate clients - including 40 ISPs - in Australia and New Zealand from OzEmail and Voyager, as part of a new strategy announced by parent company MCI WorldCom.

OzEmail has been sliced in two as its parent company MCI WorldCom attempts to make its mark in the corporate Internet market.

UUNet, an MCI WorldCom subsidiary, launched its Australian operation yesterday and will use its global, high-bandwidth network to attract commercial customers, including Internet service providers (ISPs).

UUNet has already been active in New Zealand this year, building points of presence (POPs) in several cities that are used by Voyager and CompuServe. UUNet also built the infrastructure for AOL Australia.

UUNet Australia will work in the corporate market while the OzEmail brand, which MCI WorldCom acquired for around $A520 million (US$332.2 million) in February this year, will be retained in the consumer space. It remains to be seen how this affects Voyager, which is already strongly geared towards business customers.

UUNet has inherited more than 50,000 corporate clients in Australia and New Zealand from OzEmail. Around 40 of those are ISPs, said Peter van Camp, president of Internet markets for UUNet. Peter Spence has been appointed the managing director for UUNet Australia and New Zealand.

"It's the world's most extensive TCP/IP network. "We're under an obligation to bring the most complete set of services to businesses," Van Camp said. "We want to be the global leader in Internet connectivity. We want to be the bandwidth leader. UUNet is doubling its capacity every three to four months," he added.

UUNet is investing around $US55 million in establishing new networks in the Asia-Pacific region.

A significant part of UUNet's strategy is to provide services including Web hosting, Van Camp said. In the US, UUNet has an extensive range of hosting services, including outsourced management of Lotus' Domino operations.

UUNet has a number of data centers around the world, predominantly in the U.S. and Western Europe. Australian officials are currently lobbying their U.S.-based UUNet executives to set up a multimillion dollar data center locally, with an announcement expected shortly.

The company's first local hosting service will be available from October.

MCI WorldCom made headlines last month when a massive frame-relay outage affected thousands of its corporate customers in the U.S., causing slowdowns, and ATM and network outages. One of the hardest hit customers was the Chicago Board of Trade which was forced to shut down its electronic trading system, potentially losing 45,000 contracts per day for four days, according to officials.

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