Cable & Wireless to build huge Web centre in Swindon

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The Independent Online

Cable & Wireless provided further evidence yesterday of the investment boom in data communications when it unveiled plans to spend more than £100m to build one of Europe's largest internet web-hosting facilities in Swindon, Wiltshire.

Cable & Wireless provided further evidence yesterday of the investment boom in data communications when it unveiled plans to spend more than £100m to build one of Europe's largest internet web-hosting facilities in Swindon, Wiltshire.

Web-hosting centres hold the computer servers used to connect companies and individuals to the rapidly growing number of internet sites. They also provide access to the high-capacity, high-speed fibre-optic links that optimise local connections to global internet protocol (IP) networks.

"The European business IP market is growing rapidly as e-commerce takes off in Europe and we will provide our business customers with all their IP requirements, from local area network (LAN) design and installation, to internet access, web hosting and e-commerce applications and services," said Greg Clarke, chief executive of Cable & Wireless Communications, the company's UK subsidiary.

The new 130,000 square foot centre, which is scheduled to open in the summer, will have enough capacity to host every website currently running in the country. It follows construction of similar big web-hosting facilities in Docklands, east London, by other global telecoms players such as Global Crossing. The new centre will make Britain the second-largest player in web management after the United States.

Business demand for internet services, fuelled by demand for e-commerce, LAN design and web hosting, is growing by more than 50 per cent annually. Analysts expect the market, worth £1.8bn in 1998 sales, to mushroom to £14bn by 2003.

Following a series of disposals since Graham Wallace became chief executive a year ago, culminating in the sale of its Hong Kong interests on Tuesday, Cable & Wireless has focused on providing business data services based on IP technology.

The Swindon investment is part of a programme to build 20 web-hosting centres by 2002 to compliment existing sites in the US, Japan and Europe.

Cable & Wireless's investment coincided with Thus, the telecoms network operator spun off by Scottish Power, announcing that it intends to offer a mobile internet service through its Demon web division to link on-the-move employees with their firms' internal websites.

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