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PowerTel Deals for International Link

[Sydney, Australia, May 15, 2000]: In a move to open bandwidth capacities to Australian users, telecommunications carrier PowerTel has formed an alliance with major shareholder, US carrier Williams Communications, to establish new high-speed links their respective networks.

In a Memorandum Of Understanding, PowerTel and Williams have agreed to work together to develop a complete set of data and voice products and to send traffic to each other's networks on a "preferred vendor" basis.

The deal will provide greater Internet capacity for Australian users, to more quickly access data from the US.

As part of the agreement, Williams has purchased bandwidth capacity on the undersea international cable network currently being constructed by the Southern Cross Cable Network (SCCN). This network will connect Australia and New Zealand with Hawaii and the west coast of the USA, and is expected to be operating by November to provide hundreds of times the capacity of current cables serving Australia.

The SCCN will act as a link between PowerTel's and Williams' individual networks, to remove the bandwidth bottleneck in Australia.

PowerTel is currently completing its Australian east coast cable links. The 1000km Brisbane to Sydney link was finished last September, while the Melbourne link is scheduled for completion in June.

With this network in place, PowerTel will migrate from its construction focus to a more consumer-centric strategy. The company intends to provide enterprise solutions such as wholesale dial up Internet access, Internet Protocol Virtual Private Networks and e-commerce applications.

As Williams' network includes capacity agreements for fibre-optic cables between the US and Europe, China, Japan and the Pacific Rim, PowerTel may have the opportunity to expand its reach through the alliance.

The deal comes on the heels of PowerTel's strategic alliance with fellow carrier Soul Pattinson Telecommunications, announced last Thursday. Under this deal, PowerTel's fibre-optic network will complement SPT's microwave infrastructure, to expand network delivery in preparation for digital broadcasting.



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