Briefs: Encryption Shackles Removed

which he is

trying to get regulators to approve - will not rob users of a major service

option and thus run the risk of higher prices. That's because the amount of

network capacity is growing too rapidly for any carrier to control prices. But

"free long-distance? Never," Ebbers said in response to a question from the audience. Any such offers that users might think they see is "going to be a marketing scheme," he said. All carriers have costs they have to pass along and carriers build those costs into their pricing, he said, making no exception for IP telephony carriers.

Ebbers also announced that MCI WorldCom is adopting an "open access" policy on its networks, and he specifically said a combined MCI WorldCom/Sprint company would offer its large amount of fixed-wireless spectrum to competitors. Asked whether MCI WorldCom might next seek an international merger in 2001, the famously acquisitive telecom chieftain quipped that he might even propose such a merger later this year.

Survey: E-commerce woes global

Nondelivery of ordered goods and difficulty obtaining refunds is a global problem in the online shopping world, according to an analysis released by The European Commission. The report contains research on e-commerce across Europe, the U.S., Japan, Australia and Hong King. Researchers from 11 countries were given a list of eight products to shop for over the Internet, buying them both locally and from one other site abroad. Based on 151 orders at sites in 17 countries, the researchers found significant confusion regarding the geographic location and identity of the e-business, a lack of information about delivery charges when buying abroad, and, in only 22% of the cases was it clear that the product was in stock.

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