Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Welcomed Shot at BellSouth Intermedia Communications Comes out of Nowhere

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Welcomed Shot at BellSouth Intermedia Communications Comes out of Nowhere

Article excerpt

Mark Foss, the Jacksonville-based regional director for

Intermedia Communications Inc., last month notched up the

2,500th phone line he has persuaded a BellSouth business

customer to move over to his company.

Staring from zero, it has taken Foss just over year to pass

this milestone.

"We have had exponential growth in the company," said Foss, a

17-year veteran of AT&T and Sprint who joined the company last

year.

The odd thing is, BellSouth is pleased.

"This proves we are truly receptive to competitors," said Rande

Le Fevre, a BellSouth spokesman.

This does not sound like the kind of competition where Pepsi

tries to wrap its hands around Coca-Cola's neck, or Visa

arm-wrestles with American Express.

What is happening, says technology analyst Boyd Peterson, is

that to meet the requirements of the legislation that

deregulated the phone industry last year, BellSouth needs to

demonstrate that it has removed the barriers to competition in

its local markets.

If it can do that, it can then expect the Florida Public

Service Commission and the Federal Communications Commission to

give it the green light to provide long-distance service. And

that is where there is some real money to be made.

Peterson, of The Yankee Group, a technology research and

consulting firm in Boston, figures the U.S. long-distance market

is worth about $76 billion a year in revenues.

"Our guess is that if they get long-distance within a state,

within two years they're going to have upward of 20 percent, 30

percent market share fairly easily," Peterson said.

"If they have a great interconnection with Intermedia, and

Intermedia is in effect taking local market share, then they

have satisfied the letter of the law. "Their [BellSouth's]

strategy is going to be to slowly give up market share -- it's

what is called managed market share erosion," Peterson said.

"We knew that we would have to lose some of our customers in

order to to prove to the PSC that we are truly offering

competition," Le Fevre said.

And the customers are lining up. …

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