Swift goes it alone

Swift goes it alone

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (Swift) has resumed operation and ownership of its X.25 and SIPN (Secure IP Network) networks, following an agreement with Global Crossing to end their exclusive partnership.

Global Crossing filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January this year, against a backdrop of $3.4 billion losses in its last quarter and a debt servicing burden amounting to $600 million per annum.

At this time, Swift CEO Lenny Schrank sought to reassure shareholders that its agreement with Global Crossing had contingencies in place for Swift to resume ownership and control of the network assets, and assume full responsibility for the X.25 service, should this be necessary.

Commenting on today's announcement, Schrank states: "Swift has moved from plan 'A' to plan 'B' for its network strategy. Plan 'A' put Global Crossing at the centre. Plan 'B' puts Swift at the centre with multi-vendor IP networks as gateways. We're now moving down a path of lowest risk, highest quality at an acceptable cost."

The Belgian-based interbank messaging co-operative had subcontracted its existing X.25 network - and responsibility for the upgrade and operation of the next-generation Secure IP-based network (SIPN) - to Global Crossing last year. Global Crossing's initial role was to 'operate' the existing networks on behalf of Swift. In subsequent phases, Global Crossing was to enhance the backbone SIPN network and, eventually, dismantle the X.25 network once all users had migrated to SIPN.

Swift's strategy will now centre on the enhancement of its SIPN network to serve as the backbone of its network operations, given the current uncertainty surrounding the telecommunications industry, says Schrank. The development of SIPN will include the integration of multiple IP service providers at the access network level.

Global Crossing will continue to provide network services to Swift, under a non-exclusive network services agreement.

Plans to migrate the Swift community to SwiftNet are unchanged.

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