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October 20, 1995

MINIGRAMS EXTRA

By CBR Staff Writer

Omaha, Nebraska-based Metropolitan Area Network pioneer MFS Communications Co Inc has now been granted authority by the Georgia Public Service Commission to provide the full range of competitive local telephone exchange services in Georgia: it has been providing special access and private line services to large businesses in Atlanta for several years, over its fibre optic network; it says that its Georgia operation is one of its largest.

The US Federal Communications Commission says nearly 200 companies have voiced an interest in bidding next month for slots on the airwaves to provide video programming over so-called wireless cable television, which uses microwave radio frequencies to deliver video material to small antennas on homes and other buildings, in the first Federal commission auction for a video service: channels allocated to wireless cable typically offer the same kind of programmes provided over traditional cable; the auction will begin on November 13 for 493 wireless cable licences across the US and its territories; the 196 applicants include Pacific Telesis Group and CAI Wireless Systems Inc, in which Nynex Corp and Bell Atlantic Corp teamed to invest $100m.

Former Novell Inc chief technologist Kanwal Rekhi says that the first he learned of chairman, president and chief executive Bob Frankenberg’s ill-fated SuperNOS venture – apparently entirely his creation – was when he read all about it in the trade papers and was moved to walk down the corridor to ask Bob, just what is SuperNOS?

British Telecommunications Plc plans to introduce second generation services, including voice-data-image and electronic mail in Asia for its Concert speech and data network in which MCI Communications Corp owns 25%, after an encouraging first year: British Telecom said that in Hong Kong, Concert had 25% of the market for packet services and 35% of Frame Relay services and that of 2,000 customers worldwide, 600 users were Asian multinationals, the company’s main target area for expansion; but it said it will also target national companies.

Microsoft Corp is on a drive to boost its presence in the Indian market by increasing its sales outlets, raising product awareness and getting feedback to help it compete, driven by the rise in client-server systems and an increasing use of the Internet, company officials said: Microsoft now has 700 resellers in India, from 30 two years ago, and is working to increase the number of resellers to 2000 by mid-1996 the company said.

Newbridge Networks Corp, Ottawa said it has been awarded contracts to supply Newbridge MainStreet products for the expansion of two major digital data networks and one new network in China including the provision of time division multiplexing, Frame Relay switching and network management equipment for the Shanghai Post & Telecom Administration, the Hebei Post & Telecom Administration and Hainan Post & Telecom Administration: the financial terms were not disclosed.

Los Angeles, California-based semiconductor capital equipment maker Applied Materials Inc says General Electric Co Plc’s GEC Plessey Semiconductors Ltd has placed a $16m multiple-system order with it for equipment for the plant in Plymouth, Devon: Applied said it was the first 8 wafer manufacturing plant built in the UK to manufacture 0.5 micron CMOS parts for both digital and mixed-signal products; the new plant is expected to begin production in second quarter 1996.

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Indonesia will computerise operations at its busiest port, Tanjung Priok, in an effort to reduce corruption, the Antara news agency said: the move is also linked to police efforts to reduce theft from containers at the port, which handles 70% of the country’s imports and exports; Antara did not give a timetable for the computerisation, which would cover stevedoring and container activities and eliminate human contact; North American shippers last month suspended threats to impose surcharges on users of the port after the government launched an overhaul to cut congestion.

Three Internet service providers in Asia, Internet Initiative Japan, Pacific Internet of Singapore and Hong Kong Supernet have teamed up with Sumitomo Corp to build an Internet backbone network for Asia, and the new joint venture, Asia Internet Holding, will be established in Japan next month with an initial paid up capital of $6m: the four founding general partners will each contribute equal equity sums to the company, which will build and operate the Internet backbone network so service providers in Asian countries do not need to connect to the US; it will start with a distributed hub with Tokyo as the main network hub and will have high speed links to the US; Singapore and Hong Kong will have other regional hubs.

Data Switch Corp, Shelton, Connecticut postponed the shareholders meeting to vote on its share exchange acquisition by General Signal Corp to November 9 from October 18 because of the fall in General Signal’s share price: the swap is intended to yield $4.55 per Data Switch share, but based on the current price of General Signal common, the valuation would be only about $4.25 per share at present.

You might want to explain it that way, we couldn’t possibly comment – a glitch in the software operating Deutsche Bank AG’s automatic teller machines last week led to customers receiving money but having twice the amount deducted from their accounts, Reuter reports from Frankfurt: Germany’s largest commercial bank says the embarrassing computer error at a facility in suburban Frankfurt has been found, fixed and customer accounts are being corrected – but it doesn’t say if there are any cash discrepancies or whether any deputy heads have rolled over the incident.

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