Bill's passage benefits phone network company


American Communications Services Inc., a small Maryland company that builds and operates telephone networks in Sun Belt markets, has seen its stock jump 43 percent in the six trading days since Congress passed a landmark telecommunications bill.

Stock in the company, based in Annapolis Junction, closed yesterday at $8.25. As recently as Feb. 1, the day Congress passed the rewrite of the nation's telecommunications law, ACSI shares traded at $5.75.

Richard A. Kozak, the company's president and chief executive, said passage of the bill has helped to stimulate interest in competitive access providers such as ACSI. CAPs build networks that give businesses a cheaper path to reach long-distance carriers.

"The general conclusion is that everything coming out in the telecommunications bill shows the CAPs to be big winners," Mr. Kozak said.

He said ACSI will gain from the new law because its operations are concentrated in the South and Southwest, where regulators have lagged in promoting telephone industry competition. The legislation will encourage those states to speed up the process, he said.

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