UNITED States communications giant Sprint has established Asian Internet service hubs which it says will offer big savings to corporate clients and Internet Service Providers (ISPs.) The hubs in Hong Kong, Sydney and Tokyo are linked into regional gateways including the Hong Kong Internet Exchange run from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the London Internet Exchange (LINX) in Europe. The move will give Sprint's customers direct links to Japan and London without having to route traffic through the US. These customers include ISPs Hong Kong SuperNet, Asia On-line, Chevalier, ABC and HKNet, among others, which could be expected to pass some savings onto their customers, according to Sprint. 'Sprint is helping to bring the global Internet much closer to the financial and commercial centres of Hong Kong, more reliably and at reduced cost,' said Braham Singh, managing director, ASEAN and Hong Kong operations for Sprint International. Instead of going through the US, the Internet traffic will be routed through Global SprintLink, the group's global Internet service, to its Internet centres in London and Tokyo. Sprint has also extended its international network by setting up Internet centres in London, Paris, Stockholm, Moscow, St Petersburg, Johannesburg and Amman. It says it now offers 'local' access to the Internet in 28 countries. The new Internet centres can carry traffic at up to two megabits per second, expandable to 34 megabits per second. The Asian hubs offer savings on traffic to London and Japan. But most Internet servers are in the US, where the network was developed. Traffic to US-based hosts will be carried on Sprint's 45 megabit per second US backbone via the local access points. Sprint says it carries more than half of the worlds' Internet communications between the US and the rest of the world. In Hong Kong, the group offers international private line, global X.25 and frame relay data, fax, selected voice services and international call services. Sprint is also active in the development of the Internet in China. It designed and installed China's first Internet backbone and two gateways via Shanghai and Beijing. In April, it signed a contract with the Chinese government's China Education and Research Network (CERNET) to link all China's universities, institutes and other educational and research bodies to the Internet by the end of the century.