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Dr. R.H. Rusli
CITI Institute

Investment Focused on Broadband Technology.
Editorial Department

Accordong to Dow Jones Report, WorldCom Inc. (WCOM) will focus more of its planned investment in the range of $8 to $8.5 billion for 2001 on broadband networks and its technology, as stated by the Chief Technology Officer Fred Briggs.

Speaking at the Robertson Stephens Technology Conference in san Fransisco, Briggs said WorldCom is shifting away from its traditional narrowband networks, which are used primarily for telephone service. Briggs said spending on narrowband equipment would be 'nominal.' Broadband equipment allows for high-speed and high-capacity transmission of voice, data and other services.

'The spending will shift a little bit to things like Web-hosting,' Briggs said in comments to investors after his main presentation. The company plans to continue building data centers to help deliver Internet sites for WorldCom's corporate customers.

Despite industry-wide problems hosting digital-subscriber lines, or DSL high-speed Internet access, WorldCom plans to push ahead with its own DSL network plans. So far, many DSL providers have had trouble hooking up customers in a timely manner, and cooperation between telecom providers hasn't been smooth.

Briggs said the introduction of self-install services and other new features has helped speed up the deployment of DSL.

'We'll get it all sorted out,' he said.

WorldCom also plans to open Internet call centers, which are similar to traditional telephone call centers used by businesses for customer service. Instead, these will provide customer assistance over the Internet.

Briggs said he expects WorldCom's planned acquisition of Intermedia Communications Inc. (ICIX) to close in the summer. The deal is awaiting regulatory approval and has also been challenged in shareholder lawsuits. WorldCom would gain a 55% stake in Digex Inc. (DIGX) with the purchase.

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