Cable & Wireless Plc’s Mercury Communications has won its first direct connection agreement with a European PTT, signing with Societa Italiana Poste, SIP, to operate switched services for telephone and telex traffic between the UK and Italy; it expects to sign another four European PTTs very soon – but is not currently in talks with France or Germany. Mercury claims that if it had similar agreements with other PTTs for all the European traffic it currently sends and receives through British Telecom to Europe, it would be profitable by now. Some 40% of all international traffic from the UK goes to continental Europe and 30% goes to North America. Mercury generates 1.5% of traffic to Italy from the UK, and claims 3.5% of transatlantic traffic. And here in the UK, Mercury has applied to director general of Oftel Bryan Carsberg for a change in its operating licence so that it may install and operate public telephone boxes in the UK. The company says it will be ready to publish quarterly statistics on its network performance as Telecom is required but for the past year has failed to do. These will cover time to install equipment, frequency of breakdowns, and the time taken to respond and mend faults.