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Geo punts access to British business

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Hutchison-Whampoa is backing the launch of Geo which sells access to its fibre optic network to British businesses. Geo claims five customers, including "3", and is offering straight access to the infrastructure, rather than managed services.

The firm predicts the UK market for such fibre will be worth £1.3bn by 2008. It believes many suppliers are not keen to sell customers direct access to infrastructure because they want to sell add-on services on top.

Chris Smedley, Geo's managing director, said: "What we do is very simple and effective. We have one aim: to provide national dedicated fibre directly to Britain's major data players, together with great customer service. We've taken time to develop the right proposition and are now rolling this out so customers can access and exploit our network infrastructure."

Geo says there are three drivers pushing people to fibre. Decreasing costs of equipment is the first and secondly the kit has become much easier to manage. Finally the need for better security is increasing demand for dedicated networks.

Hutchison bought the assets of 186k which between 1999 and 2001 spent £250m on a countrywide network. The network has been trading as Hutchison Network Services but was relaunched with the new name yesterday. The network links 13 major cities and includes data centres in Birmingham, Hemel Hempstead and Salford. More details on the network are available here

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