New Enhanced Services Provider Offers Access Services Over Top Fiber-Optic Network

ATLANTA, Ga. (August 15, 1995) -- LDDS WorldCom, one of the four largest long-distance companies in the U.S., has entered into a joint venture partnership to create a new enhanced services data network company called GridNet International.

GridNet International is a unique switched access, value-added network using X.25, IP and other protocols at speeds up to 28.8Kbps (V.34). Its services will be used by transaction processors, on-line service providers and Internet Service Providers (ISPs). GridNet founder O.G. Greene, president and chief executive officer of the Atlanta-based company, has formed a core management group with an average of nearly 30 years experience in this industry. "With this expertise, GridNet is a company with a unique balance of assets and flexibility, able to tailor specific solutions for specific markets using the latest industry standard applications and technologies," Greene said. Roy Wilkens, president and chief executive officer of the WilTel division of LDDS WorldCom, said the partnership leading to creation of GridNet is a company response to the rapidly growing demand for sub 64Kbps data switched access services. "WilTel has historically led the industry in broadband data services," Wilkens said. "Now, with our integration into LDDS WorldCom, we have expanded our services and expertise worldwide. "Our focus has been on broadband data services, where we have led the market in developing applications-based technology. As that market enters maturity, we find similar opportunities to develop user-oriented solutions in the rapidly growing switched access market," Wilkens said. "This venture with the GridNet team gives our company the full range of data products, up to SONET speeds." GridNet's customers will include merchant processors, lottery operators, health and medical claims processors, EFT networks and others requiring payment or transaction processing. Other markets include corporate enterprise networks, on-line service providers and Internet access providers that require high speed X.25 or IP dial access. "GridNet is the next generation of public data networks that offers customers the fastest access and enhanced performance on a cost-effective basis," Greene said. "GridNet is not burdened by legacy systems. We are efficiently employing the latest proven technologies," Greene said. "The genius is in the integration and packaging of the technologies in a way that no other carrier has done before. Other network providers will find it difficult to replicate the inherent capabilities within the Grid without major architectural changes and capital expenses to their networks." Through its partnership with LDDS WorldCom, GridNet will offer 950, 800 or local access layered over LDDS WorldCom's state-of-the-art digital network. Basic services will include X.25 transaction services, X.25 high speed on-line services and IP dial via Telnet or SLIP/PPP services. In addition, intelligent network services will supplement the value for customers with capabilities such as protocol conversion, transaction formatting and de-multiplexing of transactions. Other application solutions also will be offered to the Grid user. A customer services group with years of experience in supporting complex data networks is available to GridNet's customers. The group, based in Atlanta, is an extension of LDDS WorldCom's customer support and network control groups in Chesterfield, Mo., and Tulsa, Okla. GridNet initially will focus on providing tailored solutions in the United States. Activities are in process to expand the network to international points in early 1996. Also, an additional suite of value-added services will be announced early next year. "It is important to note that the management team of GridNet has more than 150 years of combined experience from leading information and communication companies," Greene said. "Each of us understands what it is -- from a user perspective -- to build and run complex data communication networks." In addition to Greene, the GridNet management team consists of M.W. (Mickey) Bennett, co-founder and executive vice president for planning and architecture; Lee Provow, vice president of marketing and sales; Frank Gruber, vice president of information systems and Jorge Rosado, vice president of operations. LDDS WorldCom, one of the four largest U.S.-based long-distance carriers, is a full-service telecommunications company that operates a nationwide digital fiber-optic network and has worldwide network capacity. It offers domestic and international data, voice and video products and services to other carriers, business customers and the residential market. The common shares of WorldCom, Inc. trade on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol WCOM.