Racal Telecom has signed a deal with cable operator Telewest to connect businesses in key cities outside London to its high speed UK network.
The deal is part of Racal's ongoing strategy to share infrastructure with smaller regional operators to cover the "last mile" rather than lease capacity from BT.
"The ability to procure capacity from the rationalised cable industry and a host of new telcos on the basis of a competitive tender is at last breaking the incumbent's stranglehold on the local loop," said Bob Falconer, director of networks at Racal Telecom.
Racal signed a similar agreement with Colt in July for last mile connectivity in London. Racal has also signed a deal with Esprit Telecom to link its network to Paris and has plans to link to Germany and the Netherlands.
Telewest will provide up to 250 digital circuits varying in capacity from 128Kbps to 2Mbps in five UK cities - Edinburgh, Preston, Croydon, Newcastle and Bristol, where Racal has a large customer base with customers including Wessex Water.
"Through this arrangement, Telewest is effectively extending Racal's national network right up to the customer's door," said Glenn Tookey, managing director of Telewest's business services division.
Under an existing relationship, Telewest leases "dark fibre" capacity - raw fibre without switches - from Racal to create its own 300km national network, based on high speed synchronous digital hierarchy technology.
"In this game it is key to be able to constantly reduce the cost base. Our strategy is to reduce our telephone cost to that of BT," said Racal spokesperson Mish Desmidt.
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