History of 360 Networks

Vancouver-based 360networks started life as Pacific Fiber Link, L.L.C. on May 31, 1998 as a subsidiary of Ledcor Industries of Canada, a member of the Ledcor Group of Companies, owned by the Lede family. It started acquiring the rights of way agreements alongside railway routes and then laying fibre a lot like Racel telecom (Now Vodafone) did in the UK in the early 1990’s. Pacific Fiber Link then spread into America and by 1999 it changed its name to Worldwide Fiber Networks, Inc to prove its big dreams of global dominance. Soon after, the name changed again to 360Networks and Greg Maffei, the former chief financial officer of Microsoft, was hired as the chief executive officer of the company.

It was made public soon after, raising $1.45 billion us dollars with Michael Dell, Nathan Myhrvold, Liberty Media, and News Corp all making substantial investments. During 2000, It soon started rolling out their network across America and Europe, acquiring a million sq ft of data centre and PoP space, Acquiring 11,000 miles of fibre optic infrastructure from Call-Net Enterprises.

Spending $13 billion despite only earning $234 million in the first six months, the spending didn’t stop, with transatlantic cables being completed in March 2001 and a UK wide network being built and licences to cover Japan with fibre being accepted, it missed its first debt repayment in June 2001 and things started to crumble. With just $155 million left in the bank and thing’s looking grim, it had filed for bankruptcy in Canada and the US.

It eventually emerged from bankruptcy 17 months later after selling a 12.5% stake to WL Ross & Co. In November 2002, it sold its transatlantic cable to Ireland for just $17 million, after spending $800 million installing it a year earlier. It then started acquiring more assets until 2002 when it started trading assets until eventually, Greg Maffei left for Oracle in 2005.

Columbia Ventures who bought the cut-price transatlantic cable to supply capacity between Dublin, New York and Montreal. Hibernia was founded in 2003 when its owner Ken Peterson’s Columbia Ventures want to sell transatlantic capacity to compete with Global Crossing. In 2009,
US$52.5m was refinanced to pay off historic debts and to help keep the company afloat while it built Hibernia Express.

The remains were eventually sold to Zayo in 2011, thus killing the 360networks brand. Zayo now lease transatlantic capacity from Hibernia.

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