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Janzen: new network build is no pipe dream

01 February 1999

Williams Communications is once again building a fibre-optic network, as it aims to become a major player in the US wholesale long-distance market. It re-entered this market in January 1998 on the expiry of a three-year non-compete clause. The president & CEO Howard Janzen talks to Mark Holmes about the operator's plans.

Williams Communications is aggressively targeting the wholesale market in the US. It's nation-wide 32,000 mile Multi-Service Broadband Network is scheduled for completion in the year 2000. It will connect to over 125 cities. The company is also preparing for an IPO later in the year, where it hopes to raise between $500-750 million. The sales proceeds will be reinvested in the build-out of the network.
The company has a unique background. It is a subsidiary of Williams, one of America's largest transporters of natural gas. Williams Communications has been able to exploit the advantage of having rights of way on Williams nation-wide pipeline network to build out its fibre network. Williams first used decommissioned pipelines to house fibre optic cables in 1985, under its previous banner WilTel.

This made it one of the first players to deploy a nation-wide fibre- optic network. The original fibre-optic network was eventually sold to...