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New next-generation network providing businesses in London with an alternative for ‘last mile’ connectivity in the capital




· Laying optical broadband fibre within London’s sewer infrastructure to set the highest standards in network performance and reliability




· First network in the UK to be deployed through sewers, enabling ‘minimum dig’ construction




· Wholesale-only market strategy focusing on other communications companies






London, January 23, 2002: Urband, London’s next-generation broadband communications company, launched today with the goal of improving the speed, reliability and quality of communications for businesses in the capital. The company is a joint venture between Thames Water and 186k, the telecoms business of Lattice Group.






Using Thames Water’s existing sewer infrastructure, the company is rolling out a legacy-free optical broadband network to meet the needs of major businesses in London and provide a true alternative to BT for ‘last mile’ connectivity.






Phase one of the build is complete, a 25km ring that connects the Docklands area, and phase two has already begun. The entire network is due for completion by the end of 2002 and will cover the major commercial centres in London from the Docklands and City to the West End, Victoria, Hammersmith and Westminster.






Urband offers a wholesale proposition, focusing on companies that need to supply broadband data services to business customers, e.g. telecoms carriers, telehotels, service providers, building local exchange carriers (BLECs) and system integrators who are looking for the highest quality network access in London.






Utilising the existing sewer infrastructure gives Urband key benefits unavailable to many other network operators that deliver services through conventional open-cut techniques. Not only can Urband cut service provisioning times in London, there is minimal chance of disruption to the network through third party interference and a significant reduction in road excavation. By operating from a lower cost base, Urband is able to offer highly competitive prices.






Roger Wilson, Chief Executive of Urband, says: “London is one of the world’s major business centres, but its communications infrastructure currently falls far short of providing the capacity that businesses really need. Despite extensive digging since telecoms liberalisation began, BT’s legacy network remains, for many businesses, the only option for true ‘last mile’ access in the capital.”






He continues, “Urband has been created to resolve these issues, building London’s first next-generation network and delivering virtually infinite bandwidth capacity straight to the doors of thousands of businesses. The core network is designed to pass within 50 meters of 50% of our target buildings and will reach in excess of 8,000 buildings in London.






“Our parent companies give Urband strong backing and access to a unique asset base. Through Thames Water’s sewer system, we can provide network access to major businesses in London with a 90% ‘no dig’ deployment strategy. In addition, via our non-exclusive strategic relationship with 186k, we can connect our customers directly to a next-generation national network infrastructure that spans nearly 2,000kms across the UK.”






~Ends~





For further information & photography, please contact:



Caroline Howlett / Natalie Couceiro, Nelson Bostock Communications
Tel: 020 7229 4400
Fax: 020 7727 7431
Email: caroline.howlett@nelsonbostock.com
natalie.couceiro@nelsonbostock.com


http://www.nelsonbostock.com


Notes to Editors:


In May 2001 Thames Water and 186k, the telecoms business of Lattice Group signed a joint venture agreement to build a fibre-optic network across London. A combined investment of £34 million has been provided by the parent companies. The company is now fully operational.


The joint venture has a strategic customer alliance with 186k, and plans to gain substantial business through that company’s national sales channel. However, this relationship is not exclusive and the joint venture will utilise its own metropolitan sales force to establish direct business on its own London network. We are sharing with 186k a network management centre, which monitors both networks from a central point.


Phase one of the network build, the Docklands Ring, providing a resilient loop from the company’s collocation facility in the City of London to the Docklands area and back is complete. And phase two has begun. Urband will continue to expand its network throughout 2002 providing fast data services to all the key London commercial centres including the West End.


In August 2001, the joint venture received its Public Telecom Operator (PTO) licence and the appointment of the management team was confirmed.

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