Markey: WorldCom Poses E-Mail Threat

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Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), a leading House Democrat on media and
telecommunications policy, is concerned about widespread electronic-mail service
disruption should troubled long-distance carrier WorldCom Inc. tumble into
bankruptcy.

Markey outlined his concerns in a letter Tuesday to Federal Communications
Commission chairman Michael Powell and urged the agency to prevent service
disruption for millions of consumers.

Markey cited unnamed analysts who calculated that WorldCom's network carries
70 percent of e-mail within the United States and 50 percent outside of the
United States.

'Continuity of service will be critical for the stability of the nation's
telecommunications network and the quality of service to consumers. In the event
of a bankruptcy, consumers must have ample opportunity to find service
alternatives,' he added.

WorldCom -- the No. 2 long-distance company, which is under investigation for
alleged accounting fraud involving $3.8 billion -- needs to make a $2 billion
bond payment in January or face bankruptcy, CEO John Sidgmore told reporters in
Washington, D.C., Tuesday.

Although Sidgmore added that the end could come sooner if banks refuse to
fund the company, he expressed optimism that financing would be available based
on recent talks with bankers.

Sidgmore also disclosed that he met with Powell Tuesday to discuss the
company's troubles.

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