Winstar Touts 'Alternative' Carrier Win

SAN MATEO (03/24/2000) - Fixed broadband wireless company Winstar Communications Inc. today trumped a US$100 million federal contract as one of the first large government moves to use an "alternative" carrier to provide alternative access.

Winstar will offer data and local switched voice services in federal and university buildings in and around Cincinnati under the contract with the U.S.

General Services Administration's (GSA's) Federal Technology Service (FTS).

The company pointed to the win as proof that it is advancing in the war with industry mainstays such as AT&T and the regional Bell companies to wire U.S. buildings.

Winstar also participated in a congressional hearing earlier this week on the issues surrounding alternative carriers' access to private buildings.

A subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday took up a proposed move by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to require building owners to provide alternative carriers with more access to buildings.

Specifically, FCC may force building owners to give "comparable" access -- to that afforded to traditional players -- to all providers under "nondiscriminatory" terms.

Building owners, represented by groups such as the Real Access Alliance made up of real estate associations, claim that parts of the FCC move violate the "Takings Clause" of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.

"All of (the FCC's proposed rules) would require building owners to acquiesce to an uninvited occupation on their private property," said Steven Rosenthal, an attorney representing the alliance.

FCC indicated last July that it would consider making rules to require such access. Congress is investigating the implications, should FCC follow through.

Winstar Communications Inc., in New York, is at http://www.winstar.com/.

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