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Birch Becomes Official Part of Access

Access Integrated Networks Inc. said Thursday it has completed its merger with Birch Telecom Inc.

The CLECs announced the deal in November, but didnt say how much it was worth as both are privately held.

Vincent Oddo, CEO of Access, now serves as president and CEO of the combined company. Stephen Dubé, who served as head of Birch since April 2006, is returning to CXO LLC, the Dallas-based management consulting firm that has advised Birchs senior lenders since Birch twice went bankrupt.

Access now reaches 26 states in the Southeast, Southwest and Midwest. The company says it has approximately 300,000 voice and data lines; 100,000 SMB customers; and annual revenue of $200 million. None of those numbers can be independently verified because Access is a private company. Regardless, Access said customers wont see any changes in their service agreements because of the merger.

Oddo did tell PHONE+ in November that channel partners should find the merger beneficial. He said Access will roll out new programs in Birchs territory over the next year and expand its programs in Access regions.

Access took on Birch, which has twice filed for bankruptcy, for its network. Access is slowly transitioning off commercial agreements. Birch first filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in 2002. It filed again three years later after the FCC did away with UNE regulations. Birch had built its business on the ability to access LEC networks but since, like Access, has worked to become facilities-based.

The combined companys headquarters remain at Access home base of Macon, Ga. Birch was located in Kansas City, Mo.

Access Integrated Networks Inc. www.accesscomm.com


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