Sprint extending its Internet reach overseas

Sprint unveiled plans last week to expand its SprintLink Internet backbone into Europe and Asia in a move industry observers believe should help the service provider retain its U.S.-based multinational customers.

Sprint currently provides international connections through resale agreements with WorldCom and Global One. But Brownlee Thomas, an analyst with consultancy Giga Information Group, says establishing its own international backbone was a necessary step for Sprint.

"If you're a Sprint customer, why would you want to buy services from Sprint through WorldCom?" she asks. "Why not just go directly to WorldCom?"

"You can bet your bottom dollar that WorldCom is going after those customers," Thomas adds.

By year-end, Sprint will have 15 major cities in 13 countries connected to its global IP network, says Wil Wilhelm, vice president of Sprint International.

The cities include London, where Sprint International is based; Amsterdam; Frankfurt, Germany; Paris; Stockholm, Sweden; Milan, Italy; Brussels, Belgium; Copenhagen, Denmark; Dublin, Ireland; Hamburg, Germany; Munich; Hong Kong; Tokyo; Sidney, Australia; and Singapore.

Sprint is already providing services over its own backbone in London. Access speeds being offered include E-1, E-3 and STM-1. The company says it will soon add fractional E-1 and STM-4 services, which will let customers buy bandwidth in smaller increments.

By the end of 2003, Sprint hopes to have 35 cities in 19 countries connected.

Large European business centers will be linked to a 10G bit/sec backbone, Wilhelm says.

Sprint will connect its existing IP network to its international backbone through undersea cables. The provider is a partial owner of several undersea cable systems.

In addition to its SprintLink transport services, the company will offer international customers IP VPN, collocation, managed router and managed firewall services.

Until Sprint's backbone is completed, it will continue to serve its multinational customers through third-party agreements.

This story, "Sprint extending its Internet reach overseas" was originally published by Network World.

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