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John Sidgmore Says Internet Will Consume Entire Telco Industry

The Internet industry will balloon and become the dominant piece of the telecommunications pie, eventually consuming even the existing telephone system, according to John Sidgmore, president and CEO of UUNET/WorldCom, speaking at the ISPCON show.

"There will be consolidation on a large scale," said Sidgmore. "And voice over the Internet will be only a tiny fraction of what the Internet will offer in the near future." As Internet service providers (ISPs) rush to fill the increased demand, Sidgmore predicted, "there will be lots and lots of room for them to specialize."

Sidgmore cited the deregulated teleco industry within the U.S. and the rapid-fire creation of new technology as the reasons for the Internet's fast-paced growth.

"Many of you know Moore's Law," Sigmore said to a packed room of over 500 Internet access professionals, "[which states] new computing technology pushes the limits every 18 months. Our industry is growing so rapidly, we speak in terms of Internet Law, where Internet technology expands every three to fours months. This turnover rate is phenomenal."

Sidgmore also noted a general loosening of communications regulations within the European Union, Canada and Japan. He pointed to recent licenses granted to WorldCom within previously-closed markets as proof.

Flush from the success of the approved MCI/WorldCom merger, Sidgmore joked, "I have spent my entire life hating phone companies and fighting them every inch of the way. Now I own one."

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission approved the mutli-billion dollar merger of MCI and WorldCom earlier this year.

Sidgmore also used the limelight to joke about a number of things, including Boardwatch founder Jack Rickard.

"A year ago, I was skewered by Boardwatch," he said. "Now I'm opening the ISPCON conference. I find out that I agree with Jack on quite a few things, which actually makes me nervous."

Since 1994, Sidgmore has steered UUNET through a series of mergers that expanded his company into a global presence. A provider of wholesale bandwidth and Internet access, UUNET increased its annual revenues from $7 million to $600 million. The company employs over 2,000 professionals worldwide.



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