Progress Telecom and EPIK Communications to merge operations

7 November 2003 St. Petersburg, FL Lightwave-- Progress Telecom and EPIK Communications have entered into a definitive agreement to merge their operations to form a single company focused on delivering wholesale broadband solutions. With the combination of these two providers, the new Progress Telecom will become the largest wholesale broadband provider in the Southeast.

7 November 2003 St. Petersburg, FL Lightwave-- Progress Telecom and EPIK Communications have entered into a definitive agreement to merge their operations to form a single company focused on delivering wholesale broadband solutions. With the combination of these two providers, the new Progress Telecom will become the largest wholesale broadband provider in the Southeast.

Customers will benefit from an expanded network, enhanced product portfolio and proven track record of best-in-class service and reliability, according to the companies. The merged company will be jointly owned by Progress Energy (Raleigh, NC), the parent company of Progress Telecom, and telecommunications investment firm Odyssey Telecorp., (Palo Alto, CA), parent company of EPIK.

Ron Mudry, who has been the chief executive officer of Progress Telecom since its founding five years ago this month, will become the chief executive officer of the merged company and will lead a management team that is a mixture of key personnel from both Progress Telecom and EPIK. Progress Energy will own 55% of the new company, and Odyssey will own 45%. The board of directors will be comprised of members from Progress Energy and Odyssey Telecorp. Leveraging its depth of telecom management and transition experience, Odyssey Telecorp will oversee the operations of the new Progress Telecom and lead the integration efforts.

"The new Progress Telecom will focus on leveraging its combination of deep metro presence, second- and third-tier reach and international gateways to provide wholesale broadband solutions throughout the Southeast and beyond," said Mudry.

The new Progress Telecom will be based in St. Petersburg, FL. It will continue to provide wholesale fiber bandwidth to long distance, international and wireless carriers, Internet service providers (ISPs), competitive local-exchange carriers (CLECs), and other strategic customers through its extensive fiber-optic network in the Southeast and international gateways.

"Today, the competitive landscape demands more than just a broad footprint. You need to have the right products and services," said Sean Doherty, chairman and chief executive officer of Odyssey Telecorp. "The combination of these two companies gives us all of this and more. The new Progress Telecom will be second only to BellSouth in the southeast U.S. and, arguably, the carrier of choice in that market."

"The new Progress Telecom positions us well for the inevitable consolidation of telecom networks in the Southeast," said Don Davis, executive vice president- Rail & Telecom, Progress Energy. "This merger will create a stronger, more competitive and, ultimately, more valuable telecommunications company, which is the key objective for Progress Energy, as well as being positive for Progress Telecom and its customers."

The new Progress Telecom combines the assets of Progress Telecom and EPIK Communications. The new company is one of the largest regional providers of broadband services in the eastern United States. The combined fiber network offers fast local loop, metro ring access with DWDM technology and an OC-192 (10-Gbit/sec) IP backbone. Progress Telecom's long-haul and metro fiber transport from New York to Miami allows customers to gain access to international gateways and first, second, and third-tier markets. The company's network provides strategic points of presence in the eastern United States, including major international cable landing presence in South Florida. Broadband services offered include private line, wavelength, Ethernet, and IP, as well as other customized services and solutions.

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