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Global Crossing takes it south of the border

Worldwide telecommunications operator Global Crossing announces the completion of a network that increases the long-distance carrier's reach south of the border.

Worldwide telecommunications operator Global Crossing announced Thursday the completion of a network that increases the long-distance carrier's reach south of the border.

The 10,000-kilometer fiber-optic network, dubbed the Pan American Crossing, will connect Mexico and the United States to Central America and the Caribbean. The Bermuda-based company completed construction of the network extension last December and finished testing the segment in January.

The move is an important link for Global Crossing's ambitions to provide a global network for both business and Internet customers and could differentiate it from a wave of telecommunications newcomers, according to analysts.

"Global Crossing is positioning itself to take the lead in a potential storming of the Latin American markets by foreign service providers," said Brownlee Thomas, research director at Giga Information Group.

In November, Global Crossing started services in South America and linked Brazil and Argentina to the rest of its network, which also operates in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

Thomas says that Global Crossing, along with 360 Networks and Level 3 Communications, aims to build networks and sell wholesale bandwidth access to retail service providers. The increased competition should drive down prices at the wholesale level as more bandwidth becomes available, he said.

The increased availability of the fast communications to companies and consumers should also help regional growth.

"Telecom is a critical facilitator of international trade, and if you don't open that up to competition, you risk missing the boat in terms of economic growth," said Thomas

Global Crossing's customers in Latin America include AT&T Latin America, PSINet, TechTel and Impsat Fiber Networks, among others.