Universal Access launches Equal Access initiative to accelerate metro fiber optic network connectivity

June 21, 2001
June 21, 2001--Universal Access launched the company's Equal Access initiative to address the issue of expansion of the company's neutral intermediary strategy by opening access to its Universal Transport Exchange (UTX) facilities.

Speaking before the Goldman Sachs Emerging Telecom and Internet Infrastructure Conference in New York City, Patrick Shutt, Chairman and CEO of Universal Access (Nasdaq: UAXS), launched the company's Equal Access initiative to address the issue of expansion of the company's neutral intermediary strategy by opening access to its Universal Transport Exchange (UTX) facilities, which will enable telecom carriers to freely interconnect among the thousands of long-haul, local-loop and BLEC fiber networks. Universal Access expects the complementary offering of Equal Access will equate to more than $300 million per year in additional revenue by 2004.

The term Equal Access, originally a concept from the deregulation of the telecommunications industry, was a government directive to open access for emerging telecom competitors to the different copper networks, giving them equal treatment to compete with both the local and long distance companies. However, at the time of deregulation, only copper networks existed, which were built in a logical fashion due to regulation. With deregulation, the new high- speed fiber-optic data networks were built-out in a disparate fashion, resulting in numerous carriers serving one route or building when customers across the street have absolutely no service.

In a strategic move to raise carriers' options for connectivity, Universal Access will extend its existing strategy to act as true neutral interconnection points by allowing carriers to purchase cross connects and other enhanced services within the UTXs. Carriers will be able to locate in the company's UTX centers to interconnect with other service providers for a monthly recurring fee. Carriers may also choose to purchase additional new services, including optical tributary management (muxing), remote hands, telemetry and control, network monitory, protocol conversion (such as Ethernet or SDH to SONET), disaster relief, and layer one bursting bandwidth services.

For carriers, Universal Access' initiative of opening its UTX facilities will increase their ability to interconnect with other networks, reduce their capital and operating costs, and increase the utilization of their network assets. For business customers, this will allow carriers to close the gap that exists in the last mile, better serving their needs in the metro loop.

Utilizing Universal Access' 19 domestic UTXs located in major metropolitan centers, the company's Equal Access initiative will help companies extend their fiber optic infrastructure directly into the buildings where customers are housed. Essentially, the UTX facilities act as a technological core, where the fiber optic networks can branch out and interconnect to reach businesses and end-users nationwide.

Chicago-based Universal Access, with its Universal Information Exchange (UIX). a robust telecommunications databank knows where these inter-carrier connections must be made and provides circuits that enable the data to reach its destination. With the addition of Equal Access, carriers can choose to use Universal Access for their provisioning needs, benefiting from the company's expertise and powerful database, or they can complete the circuits themselves within the UTX facilities.

About Universal Access:

Universal Access interconnects telecom networks so telecommunications, Internet and application service providers can speed delivery of voice and data services. For more information, visit www.universalaccess.net.

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