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Fiber-optic firm to give low-cost hookup to MCI


American Communications Services Inc., a fiber-optic network company that moved to Maryland two months ago, said yesterday that it has signed an agreement with MCI Communications Inc. under which it will provide a low-cost connection to MCI customers in six metropolitan markets.

Under the deal, ACSI will provide networks that will let MCI bypass the regional Bell operating companies in the six downtown areas, which the companies declined to identify, except to say that they were in the South. The deal is expected to substantially reduce the access charges MCI must pay to complete long-distance calls over local telephone networks.

MCI Metro, an MCI subsidiary, will construct the fiber-optic networks for ACSI.

According to ACSI, it will pay MCI Metro $2.5 million to build the networks, while MCI Metro has agreed to buy at least $5.1 million in access services from ACSI in the six markets during the next five years.

ACSI, whose stock began trading on the Nasdaq's SmallCap Market in March, moved its headquarters May 1 from Oak Brook, Ill., to Annapolis Junction near Fort Meade. In a press release, ACSI cited Maryland's talented labor pool, quality of life and progressive telecommunications regulations.

ACSI's stock rose 25 cents yesterday to close at $4.

The company, which is known as a competitive access provider (CAP), has five networks in operation, located in Louisville, Ky.; Little Rock, Ark.; Greenville, S.C.; Fort Worth, Texas; and Columbia, S.C. It reported no sales and $4 million in losses last year.

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