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WorldCom's Bernard Ebbers Lauds Wireless Future At WCA 2000.

Business & Technology Editors

NEW ORLEANS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 11, 2000

-Proclaiming 2000 to be "the year of wireless," WorldCom president and CEO Bernard J. Ebbers remarked upon the wireless industry's emergence and place in the current telecommunications marketplace during his keynote speech on Tuesday at the Wireless Communications Association's 13th annual show here.

During the speech, he also stressed a need for the industry to make "important commitments" to education.

"This industry is taking off on a path of unprecedented growth. This is a remarkable time for everyone involved," he told the capacity crowd. "The evolution of the communications industry over the past two decades has been impressive."

Broadband wireless and "all-distance" communications will drive the industry in the near future, he predicted. "Data, not voice, will be the primary factor" in future growth, he said, noting that wireless and Internet services are both becoming predominant factors in the current marketplace. "The more pervasive wireless becomes, the more pervasive the wired world becomes," he said.

However, he warned, growth has not been "without challenges going forward." Citing recent actions by the U.S. Department of Justice (including its recent decision affecting WorldCom's proposed merger with Sprint), Ebbers expressed concern that the United States government is driving the industry toward "the re-monopolization of local service to consumers."

Continuing his focus on education, Ebbers underscored WorldCom's pledge to offering "all-distance" technology and educational applications to 1,000 Mississippi schools by the next year; contributing $2 million to a program to offer wireless Internet service and connectivity to schools in four rural southern states, including Louisiana, North Carolina, Mississippi and Alabama; and providing training support to teachers through the company's Marco Polo program, a no-cost, standards-based content for K-12 teachers and classrooms, as well as providing on-site support.

"Soon, teachers in 12 states will learn how to effectively use this content to help further students' education," Ebbers said.

His introduction was by Dr. Patrick Gossman of Wayne State University in Detroit, who is president of the National ITFS Association, an organization whose members use FCC-granted wireless licenses to provide instructional services through schools, colleges and other community groups nationwide.

The WCA 2000 is host to fixed wireless broadband service providers, equipment vendors, and consultants from around the world. The conference features 155 speakers in 50 sessions and 90 exhibitors that will showcase broadband wireless access solutions.

The WCA represents 370 companies worldwide involved in the emerging industry of fixed wireless broadband communications providing such services as high-speed Internet access.

The show concludes Wednesday afternoon, July 12.

A digital JPEG photo of Bernard Ebbers is available upon request.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jul 11, 2000
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