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Optus transforms e-commerce
13 Dec 2000

The financial community in Australia and around the world can now confidently do business online with assured levels of speed, efficiency and security via the new Cable & Wireless Optus eFinity network. The Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) is the first client to use the network.

eFinity is a powerful, business-grade 'internet' which allows whole 'communities of interest' to transact online in a totally private environment with assurances that the transmission will be fast, smooth and secure.

Chris Hancock, Managing Director, Data and Business Services, Cable & Wireless Optus, said eFinity was born because the existing internet environment cannot support the increasing demands of e-commerce, particularly business to business, and dedicated private networks are inflexible and increasingly expensive to maintain and upgrade.

"What makes eFinity remarkable is that it allows many Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to connect together, either in whole in or in part, on a shared, global infrastructure."

"eFinity will provide assured levels of speed and efficiency of information transfer, which is extremely important for time-critical transactions such as share price information, freight management and just-in-time manufacturing," said Mr Hancock.

The cutting-edge network infrastructure not only combines multiple VPNs but will also provide application and content delivery, hosting and business continuity services.

"We are extremely proud of eFinity. We believe it is the first of its kind in the world and we are very excited that the ASX is the first of several major clients expected to take up this new network," Mr Hancock said.

Richard Humphry, Managing Director and CEO, ASX, said the ASX's highest priority is to ensure the integrity of systems used to deliver services to customers.

"The Optus eFinity network with its VPNs are the infrastructure networks for the financial community of the future," he said.

"eFinity was chosen to improve ASX's delivery of its existing market data and CHESS services to customers and to facilitate the development and delivery of information-related products in the future. Some ASX customers are already successfully using the service which will be offered to all ASX customers over the next few months.

"Unlike private networks, which are fully owned and managed by the information provider, shared network VPNs cost-effectively provide excellent performance, security, adaptability and reach while remaining affordable - Optus is accountable for the VPN's performance," said Mr Humphry.

eFinity was wholly developed in Australia by Cable & Wireless Optus. It will provide unprecedented access to international business markets for Australian companies and is intended to be the first of a series of international online financial centres using the Cable & Wireless IP backbone.

eFinity has been designed as an e-commerce platform for communities of interest and the financial community is the first targeted market.

Note to editor:
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a private data network that makes use of the public telecommunication infrastructure, maintaining privacy through the use of a tunneling and encapsulation protocol and security procedures. A VPN can be contrasted with a system of owned or leased lines that can only be used by one company. The idea of the VPN is to give the company the same capabilities at much lower cost by using the shared public infrastructure rather than a private one.

A VPN can be built on a service provider's IP, Frame Relay, or ATM infrastructure or on the internet. Businesses that run their intranets over a VPN service are looking to have the same security, prioritisations, reliability and manageability as they do in their own private networks.

VPNs allow telecommuters, remote employees like salespeople, or even branch offices to connect in a secure fashion to a corporate server located at the edge of the corporate Local Area Network (LAN) using the routing infrastructure provided by a public internetwork (such as the internet). From the user's perspective, the VPN is a point-to-point connection between the user's computer and a corporate server. The nature of the intermediate internetwork is irrelevant to the user because it appears as if the data is being sent over a dedicated private link.

If the public internet is accessed using a VPN, this involves encrypting data before sending it through the public network and decrypting it at the receiving end. An additional level of security involves encrypting not only the data, but also the originating and receiving network addresses.

For more information:
Michaela Mohr
Cable & Wireless Optus
Ph: 02 9342 8202