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Cable & Wireless' IP VPN QoS for Marks & Spencer gains industry recognition

Cable & Wireless, the global telecommunications company, and Marks & Spencer, one of the UK's leading retailers, today (10 July 2002) announced that they have won the 'Most Innovative European Network Project' at the Networking Industry Awards 2002 for the IP VPN QoS implementation rolled out across Marks & Spencer. The annual Awards, presented on 25 June, are organised by CMP Europe in association with Network News.

The Networking Industry Awards aim to recognise the success of those companies leading the way in the voice and data networking market. In selecting the most innovative European network project, the judging panel looked for evidence that the project had met the customer's business needs and delivered genuine business advantage.

Marks & Spencer was the first organisation to select Cable & Wireless' new IP Virtual Private Network based on MPLS technology (IP VPN QoS), which now connects all 312 stores. The quality of service network has enabled Marks & Spencer to prioritise data traffic on the network, so that it can speed up credit card authorisations and consequently reduce customer waiting times at tills. The network also gives staff fast and reliable access to e-mail and back-office systems and provides a robust and flexible infrastructure to support long-term plans for streaming video and an extended intranet.

In addition to the IP VPN QoS, Cable & Wireless has also connected all Marks & Spencer stores to a National Virtual Private Network (NVPN) for voice with the ultimate aim of merging both networks together.

"This award is a welcome endorsement of our joint project with Marks & Spencer," said Gareth James, president, sales & marketing Europe, Cable & Wireless. "The IP VPN QoS has given Marks & Spencer unprecedented network capacity and flexibility and is an excellent example of how IP-based technology can benefit the business processes of many organisations. Cable & Wireless and Marks & Spencer work very closely together on an ongoing basis to ensure that we exploit the network with maximum effect enabling Marks & Spencer to support its business objectives."

"Although it was our long-term strategy to move to an IP network, we never thought we would do it in one jump," said Adrian Pratt, senior consultant at Marks & Spencer. "Cable & Wireless was the only level one telecoms player willing to listen and tailor their proposal to our requirements, and we are delighted to have received industry recognition for this project. The IP VPN will underpin our future infrastructure delivery and we believe that this sort of network can deliver serious, measurable benefits to many types of organisations."


About Cable & Wireless

Cable & Wireless is a major global telecommunications business with revenue of over £5.9 billion (US$8.6 billion) in the year to 31 March 2002 and customers in 70 countries. The company consists of two core and complementary divisions: Cable & Wireless Regional and Cable & Wireless Global. Cable & Wireless Regional offers a full range of telecommunications services in 33 countries around the world. Cable & Wireless Global's focus for future growth is on IP (Internet protocol) and data services and solutions for business customers. It has developed advanced IP networks and value-added services in the US, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region in support of this strategy. With its financial strength and the capability of its global IP infrastructure, Cable & Wireless holds a unique position in terms of global coverage and services to business customers.

For more information about Cable & Wireless, go to

About Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer is the UK's leading clothing retailer with more than 12.4 million square feet of trading space across 312 British stores. The Company also trades on-line at

The Group employs more than 60,000 people. In 2000/01 Group turnover was £8.1bn and profits before tax and exceptional items was £480.9m.

The Company also trades in wholly owned stores in the Republic of Ireland and Hong Kong and has 131 franchise stores in 28 countries operating through a network of successful partnerships. Further corporate information can be found on the Marks & Spencer website: -

The group's financial services business provides customers with a range of products including account cards, personal loans, unit trust management, life assurance and pensions. Retailing accounted for 96% of fiscal 2001 revenues and financial services accounted for 4%.

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