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Business News – CompTel Attendance Skyrockets in Orlando

Posted: 04/2001

Business News

CompTel Attendance Skyrockets in Orlando
By PHONE+ Staff

The changing political winds, a softer economy and the celebration of two
decades as a champion of competition helped attendance for the Competitive
Telecommunications Association’s (CompTel, www.comptel.org)
20th Anniversary Convention skyrocket in Orlando, Fla. More than 4,300 people
attended the three-day affair.

"I think the reason for the great turnout is the special celebration,
because it is our 20th anniversary, but clearly some of our members are
concerned with the political winds," said H. Russell Frisby Jr., CompTel
president.

During an interview at the Feb. 18-21 convention, Frisby said the soft
economy also may be a factor, because some members are re-examining their travel
plans and cutting back the number of exhibitions they will attend this year.

"With that in mind, they say CompTel is the place to make the best
deals," Frisby said.

Frisby said CompTel recognizes that the economic slowdown is difficult,
especially for its smaller members. The heart of that problem is what is behind
the "Break the Bottleneck Campaign," which CompTel launched during the
convention.

The organization’s president explained that smaller companies are having
trouble raising capital because they have not expanded as quickly as investors
may have expected. The companies can’t grow because they run into roadblocks in
provisioning, which often are related directly to the RBOCs.

"It’s a circle," Frisby said. "The more they try to get ahead,
the more problems they have with the Bells. That is why our Break the Bottleneck
Campaign is so vital. It is time for RBOCs to fully comply."

The campaign includes a major effort to get telecom companies to lobby
Congress to insist on compliance with the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Frisby emphasized that the issue is not a partisan one, offering a reminder
that structural separation began under the Reagan administration, and the
original AT&T Corp. (www.att.com) breakup
began when Gerald Ford was president.

While the economy and politics were on the minds of many attendees, the
CompTel staff planned convention sessions that focused on emerging trends and
current events within the industry.

CompTel also launched its Hall of Fame for the "Champions of
Competition" with a private ceremony. Eleven people were inducted. They
are:

  • William Baxter Jr., former Assistant Attorney General, antitrust division,
    U.S. Department of Justice (www.usdoj.gov);
  • Anne Bingaman, chairman and CEO, VALOR Telecom LLC (www.valortelecom.com);
  • Thomas Bliley, former U.S. Representative, R-Va.;
  • Bernard Ebbers, president and CEO, WorldCom Inc. (www.worldcom.com);
  • Judge Harold Greene, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (www.dcd.uscourts.gov);
  • Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, D-S.C.;
  • Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass.;
  • Bill McGowan, founder and CEO, MCI Communications Corp.;
  • Alan Peyser, co-founder and chairman, Simplexity.com Inc. (www.simplexity.com);
  • Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska; and
  • Roy A. Wilkens, president and CEO, data network operations, McLeodUSA Inc.
    (www.mcleodusa.com).

Baxter, Greene and McGowan were honored posthumously.

On the second day, former Ohio Democratic Senator John Glenn wowed the crowd
with a keynote speech that promoted public service and education.

During CompTel’s February show, new board members are elected to guide the
organization in its policy goals. Results of this year’s votes are:

Large Company Board

Annual revenues of more than $500 million:

  • Frank M. Semple, president, network, Williams Communications Group Inc.
  • Richard L. Fruchterman, director and senior legislative counsel,
    government relations, WorldCom Inc.
  • James M. Smith, vice president, law and public policy, Excel
    Communications Inc.
  • John W. Barnett Jr., senior executive, McLeodUSA Inc.
  • Brian V. Fitzpatrick, president, global carrier services, North America,
    Global Crossing Ltd.
  • Andrew M. Walker, vice chairman, CEO and president, ITC^DeltaCom Inc.

Medium-sized Company Board

Annual revenues between $25 million and $500 million:

  • Douglas H. Hanson, chairman and CEO, Internet Commerce &
    Communications
  • Rob Curtis, senior vice president, strategic planning, Z-Tel Technologies
    Inc.
  • Jerry L. James, president, Grande Communications Inc.
  • Joseph D. Ambersley, executive vice president, mergers and acquisitions,
    PaeTec Communications Inc.
  • Kath Thomas, vice president, regulatory and public policy, Advanced TelCom
    Group Inc.
  • Dhruv Khanna, executive vice president, general counsel and secretary,
    Covad Communications Co.

Small Company Board

Annual revenues of less than $25 million:

  • Richard E. Burk, president and CEO, nii Communications
  • Sarah Montgomery, director, government relations, Westel Inc.
  • Robert F.X. Condon, vice president, regulatory and external affairs,
    ARBROS Communications Inc.
  • Bob Collet, president, Velocita Corp.
  • Sean Minter, president and COO, IP Communications Inc.
  • John D. McClellan, president, EPIK Communications Inc.

The boards then elected Hanson to be the chair.

These boards will work to develop and encourage national policies that foster
faster, more efficient deployment of broadband services, while they oppose any
new legislation that would give interLATA data relief to Bell companies.

But the tradeshow floor is where the real action took place. It was the place
to meet and greet, dwell and sell, pass out resumes and search for new
investors.

With 200 exhibitors using 90,000 square feet to network, attendees could find
a little of everything. The floor was ground zero for colorful,
three-dimensional booths, clever presentations and giveaways. The increase in
the number of utility firms now entering the telecommunications market was
noticeable, as the largest and splashiest booths belonged to energy companies.


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