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 WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- MCI today unveiled a sweeping strategic vision under which MCI and associated partners are expected to invest more than $20 billion to create and deliver a wide array of new branded services to teleconsumers, businesses, research facilities and government customers.
 "Our notion of the future of telecommunications and MCI is going to have a brand name: networkMCI," said Bert C. Roberts, MCI chairman and CEO. "This strategic vision is the sum of all our plans and opportunities in the new emerging markets with services that consumers, businesses and governments will want at their fingertips as we move into the 21st century. As a core strategy, it leverages the tremendous opportunities brought on by the convergence of telephony, entertainment and the computer."
 Transcontinental Information Superhighway
 Today the company announced, as an initial element of the networkMCI vision, the inauguration of the nation's first transcontinental information superhighway. Often talked about as a key ingredient to keeping America competitive in tomorrow's world economy, the MCI superhighway's roadbed uses SONET fiber optic technology at speeds 15 times faster than any SONET network available today.
 MCI said that the National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET) is the first user of its New York to Los Angeles SONET fiber system. The NSFNET Backbone Service is the fastest and most powerful of the university, government and commercial networks known collectively as the Internet.
 "Some people may be surprised to learn that MCI developed these intercity links for the Internet six years ago," said Roberts. "The NSFNET service today reaches nearly 15,000 networks around the world that participate in the Internet."
 "The Internet doubles in size annually and now links over 2 million computers serving some 6 million users," said Vinton Cerf, president of the Internet Society. "When electronic mail interconnects are taken into account, nearly 20 million users conduct their business from labs, homes and offices over the Internet. MCI and its partners, IBM, Merit and ANS, pioneered the use of 45 megabit per second technology for the NSFNET Backbone Service. NSFNET now carries a volume of information that approximately equals the holdings of the Library of Congress EACH MONTH, and MCI's announcement indicates the potential to carry more than 50 times that much traffic."
 SONET, which stands for Synchronous Optical Network, is a high-speed transmission technology that MCI is using to hasten the widespread availability of broadcast quality videophones, electronic data interchange (EDI), long-distance medical imaging, multimedia education, movies on demand, and a single-number Personal Communications Service (PCS) that will use the same pocket-sized telephone anywhere in the world.
 High-speed SONET technology was deployed in half of MCI's network at year-end 1993, far outpacing its long-distance rivals. Under the development program announced today, SONET will be available throughout MCI's domestic network by the end of 1994 and on international routes across the Atlantic and the Pacific by 1995. The company said it will further increase carrying speeds on existing fiber from 2.5 gigabits (billion bits) per second to more than 10 gigabits per second by 1995.
 MCI Metro
 As another element of its long-range vision, the company announced the creation of MCI Metro, a wholly owned subsidiary that is expected to invest $2 billion in fiber rings and local switching infrastructure in major U.S. metropolitan markets. Through its metropolitan area facilities, MCI will connect directly to customers and begin providing alternative local telecommunications services. Referring to these connections as "digital on/off ramps" to the nationwide information superhighway, Roberts noted that they would be a vital addition to America's economic infrastructure for the 21st century. Construction has already begun in Atlanta, with completion expected there by mid- year.
 Roberts announced the appointment of two key executives to lead this subsidiary. Executive vice president Gary M. Parsons will be chief executive officer of MCI Metro, and Senior Vice President Nate A. Davis will become its chief operating officer. The subsidiary owns properties and rights-of-way in several hundred cities.
 "MCI Metro will ensure the availability of superior local access facilities at reasonable cost," said Roberts. "During the last decade, MCI was instrumental in bringing the benefits of competition to the long-distance marketplace. During the next decade, we must secure those same benefits for customers of local telephone service. In addition, these digital backbone facilities will strongly position MCI in the emerging markets of interactive multimedia and wireless PCS."
 Roberts said that networkMCI is being introduced to the public via a national advertising campaign utilizing television, magazines and newspapers to explain the company's vision to consumers, businesses, investors and potential partners.
 "When we announced our global alliance with BT (British Telecom) last year, we said that the added financial flexibility would allow us to invest in America's infrastructure, economy and future," said Roberts. "With networkMCI, we have cast a strategy to deliver on that promise, and then some."
 MCI expects that other partner companies with complementary skills and resources will participate in projects within the overall networkMCI vision, through equity stakes, joint ventures or other business arrangements.
 "As telecommunications, computing and television converge, no one company will have the infrastructure and the skills to do everything alone," said Roberts. "Partnering is smart strategy for the 1990s, and MCI has proven repeatedly that it doesn't have to own and control another party in order to work together effectively."
 MCI cited a number of customer usage trends underlying the decision to make the additional multibillion-dollar investments. The company has been growing more than twice as fast as the long-distance industry as a whole and is winning the lion's share of growth in the booming market for international calls to and from the United States. Data traffic is another major growth factor, with business customers' usage of data communications expected to surpass voice by 1998. In wireless communications, the superior performance of the emerging PCS technology is expected to help drive the total number of wireless devices in the United States to 70 million by the turn of the century, which will increase network usage.
 "Beyond the long-term vision," Roberts continued, "there are a number of immediate benefits that networkMCI brings to the everyday, workaday MCI network. We have created this long-term strategy to meet the demands of a nation of teleconsumers who use telecommunications more frequently and in more ways than ever before. American businesses of all sizes want competitive advantage from their communications. And potential partners in this arena want to create new opportunities. With networkMCI, there will be a clear path to follow."
 MCI, headquartered in Washington, offers a full range of domestic and global telecommunications services through one of the world's largest state-of-the-art networks. With annual revenue of more than $12 billion, the company is the second largest long distance provider in the United States and has more than 65 offices in 55 countries and places.
 A series of key initiatives over the past year helped lay the groundwork for the network, MCI long-range strategic vision announced by the company today.
 -- MCI and British Telecommunications (BT) announced a
 worldwide strategic alliance to provide advanced
 global communications, with BT investing $4.3 billion
 in MCI.
 -- MCI has announced plans to acquire BT-North America,
 adding strength to the company's global data and
 electronic messaging product lines.
 -- Ten regional university research networks on the
 Internet selected MCI to provide communications for
 high-speed multimedia and supercomputer applications.
 In addition, Global Enterprise Services Inc., a
 provider of advanced Internet services, selected
 MCI for data transmission and virtual private
 networking services.
 -- SONET, a state-of-the-art transmission technology
 that serves as the roadbed for MCI's information
 superhighway, was deployed in more than 50 percent of
 the company's intelligent network by year end 1993.
 -- MCI and Delrina Corp. took advantage of a growing
 market for fax-equipped PCs (which are outselling FAX
 machines today) by introducing a PC-based service
 that links MCI's Global Messaging Service to
 Delrina's PC fax software.
 -- MCI, with Jones Lightwave Inc. and Scientific-Atlanta
 Inc., announced plans to use cable television systems
 to provide consumers with a competitive alternative
 for local telephone service.
 -- Continuing the development of nationwide wireless
 Personal Communications Services (PCS), MCI conducted
 technology and customer trials in Washington, Dallas
 and Charlotte.
 -- MCI joined with Northern Telecom, Nokia, Ericsson GE
 Mobile Communications, Telular Corporation and MIT
 Lincoln Laboratory to create a PCS laboratory in
 -- Using its intelligent network as the platform, MCI
 continued to lead the long distance industry in
 launching branded products like 1-800-COLLECT, a
 simplified and cost-effective service for making
 collect phone calls, and Proof Positive, a service
 that ensures business customers that they always get
 MCI's best price.
 -- The company launched the MCI VideoPhone, the first
 internationally compatible videophone available in
 the United States.
 MCI's long-range vision, networkMCI defines the company's core
 strategy for the coming era, as telephony, computers and television
 converge into interactive multimedia and wireless communications.
 This new generation of low power wireless communications technology
 utilizes lightweight, inexpensive pocket phones and personal
 computers to transmit voice, fax and data from anywhere.
 Interactive multimedia uses phones, TVs and personal computers for
 two-way communication between machines and people. Formats can
 include voice, data and video applications for businesses, education
 and entertainment.
 The Internet is the world's most extensive computer network,
 connecting millions of users in government agencies, universities,
 supercomputer centers and industry research organizations. The
 National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET) is the fastest, most
 powerful of the networks that make up Internet.
 A metropolitan fiber ring is an advanced, high-speed local network
 that can also be used to connect businesses and residences directly
 to a long distance carrier's network, and provide alternatives to
 the local telecommunications services they have today.
 SONET is a fiber-optic transmission technology, based on industry
 standards, that can transport many types of digital signals --
 voice, data and video -- at extremely high speeds.
 ATM is an advanced switching technology that can handle enormous
 data capacity requirements "on demand," and allows transmissions of
 voice, data and video all on one access line. It is designed to
 work hand-in-hand with SONET.
 Optical fibers are filaments of glass thin as a human hair which can
 carry enormous amounts of information encoded on pulses of laser
 light. Additional benefits include no static from electromagnetic
 Bit stands for BInary digiT and is the basic unit in data
 communications, representing either a 1 or 0. A megabit is
 1 million bits and a gigabit is 1 billion bits.
 EDI is a series of software standards that allows computers to
 exchange business documents, such as purchase orders, invoices and
 payments, between different companies regardless of what type of
 computers are being used.
 -0- 1/4/94
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: An audio news conference call will be held at 11:15 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. EST. To access the call dial 800-857-5049, passcode "MCI NEWS"; reporters must identify themselves by name and affiliation./
 /CONTACT: Bernie Goodrich of MCI, 800-289-0073 or 202-887-2158/

CO: MCI Communications Corporation; MCI Metro ST: District of Columbia IN: TLS SU: PDT

DC-KW -- DC003 -- 8756 01/04/94 08:34 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 4, 1994

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