Telecom Firms Seed Broad Va. Market

MCI WorldCom and Sprint say they view VirginiaLink as an extension of their existing business with Virginia and that that relationship spurred them to participate. But they also say the program eventually could be a good commercial investment.

By giving Virginia firms an affordable point of entry to high-speed communications services, MCI and Sprint hope to develop new long-term customers.

Jim Nystrom, executive manager at MCI WorldCom Government Markets, said the consortium or "buyer's club" approach to telecommunications provides an opportunity to expand its reach across the state. "It is our hope to become a...single service [telecom] provider for businesses in all of Virginia," Nystrom said.

Mike MacDowell, major account manager at Sprint, who worked on the VirginiaLink deal, agreed. "We want to be able to build bridges to new customers that we have never been able to infiltrate before,"

Additionally, new revenue could come not only through this program but through applications those businesses develop down the road, MacDowell said.

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