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 OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill., Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- MFS Communications Company, Inc. (MFS) (NASDAQ-NMS: MFST), announced that the New York Public Service Commission has taken a major step toward granting MFS' subsidiary, MFS Intelenet, Inc., local carrier status equal to New York Telephone (NYT), a standing known in the industry as "co-carrier" status. The historic decision will increase competition for local telephone service and ultimately lead to more choice, lower rates and improved service for customers.
 The decision makes it easier for MFS Intelenet and others to compete with the traditional monopoly phone company. NYT is now required to deal with MFS Intelenet and other local competitors on the same basis as it now deals with other independent telephone companies such as GTE and Alltel. MFS Intelenet, which premiered its services in New York City on Oct. 5, is the nation's only full service telecommunications company designed exclusively to meet the needs of small to medium-sized businesses by providing integrated local, long distance and facilities management services.
 "The state of New York is once again leading the nation in developing new and creative regulatory policies that encourage competitive telecommunications service," said Royce J. Holland, president of MFS. "These policies will return concrete benefits to New York by ensuring its vanguard position in attracting telecommunications-intensive businesses, which will generate more jobs for New Yorkers and improve the city's economic health."
 Key points of the New York commission's decision include:
 -- MFS Intelenet and other local exchange competitors are now recognized as local telephone companies in the state of New York.
 -- NYT must allocate blocks of local phone number "prefixes" to MFS Intelenet and other local competitors, enabling them to assign the numbers directly to their customers. In the past, the company had to purchase local phone numbers from NYT and then resell the numbers to its customers. According to the decision, NYT must stop requiring MFS Intelenet and other competitors to purchase local exchange service in order to receive blocks of local phone numbers -- in effect, stop treating MFS Intelenet as if it was a customer instead of a "co-carrier."
 -- All parties must work with the New York commission's staff to agree on terms for physical interconnection of networks no later than Dec. 1, 1993.
 As a result of this decision, NYT has been eliminated as a "middleman." Long distance calls to MFS Intelenet customers will no longer have to pass through NYT's switches, which reduces the possibility of technical problems. Now calls will be handled directly by MFS Intelenet on its own advanced digital switching system, allowing improved reliability and security of connections.
 "New York has provided a road map for other states to follow in opening up their telecommunications markets to greater competition," said Kirby G. Pickle, president of MFS Intelenet. "Competition not only stimulates economic development and increases investment in telecommunications infrastructure, but it also puts pressure on the existing telephone monopolies to improve their own networks and to focus more on quality and customer service."
 Action In Response To MFS Intelenet Initiative
 The New York Public Service Commission acted in response to a formal complaint filed by MFS Intelenet on July 6, 1993. The commission found that NYT put MFS Intelenet and other local competitors at "a competitive disadvantage" by requiring them to pay the same rates as end-users for network connections and blocks of local telephone numbers.
 The important question of how MFS Intelenet and other competitors should be compensated by NYT for connections to their networks was deferred by the commission until the conclusion of a related proceeding. However, the New York commission also encouraged NYT, MFS Intelenet and other interconnectors to negotiate mutual compensation arrangements often used in the industry, such as "meet point billing" or "bill and keep," for termination of calls over competing local exchange networks.
 Currently, competitors must pay NYT for calls that terminate or end on its network. However, NYT does not pay competitors for calls terminating on competitors' networks.
 Holland said he is looking forward to working with the commission's staff and NYT to finalize interconnection arrangements well in advance of the Dec. 1 deadline.
 Holland noted that other states are sure to review the New York decision carefully. "All customers benefit from the availability of competitive choices for basic telephone service," he said. "Other cities and states that compete with New York to attract businesses and jobs will want to match these advantages."
 MFS' common stock is traded on the NASDAQ National Market System under the symbol MFST.
 -0- 10/12/93
 /CONTACT: Josh Howell or Steve Ingish of MFS, 708-218-7200/

CO: MFS Communications Company, Inc.; New York Public Service
 Commission; MFS Intelenet, Inc. ST: Illinois, New York IN: TLS UTI SU:

TW -- NY019 -- 0947 10/12/93 09:04 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 12, 1993

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