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Digital Teleport Inc. to offer dial-tone service

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by Karen E. Culp

SBJ Staff

Digital Teleport Inc. expects to provide dial-tone telephone service to customers in Springfield within 60 to 90 days, said Digital Teleport's chief executive officer, Richard Weinstein.

The St. Louis-based company already has an agreement to share conduit space with the city of Springfield. The company entered into an agreement in April of 1997 to plant a certain amount of fiber optic cable, allowing the city to access a portion of it for its traffic communication program.

DTI also has a 40-year agreement with the Missouri Department of Transportation to build a total of 2,000 miles of fiber-optic cable along Missouri's major highways, Weinstein said. The company is building its network in 37 states.

In Springfield, DTI expects to have a local fiber-optic ring of between five and 10 miles. The company is finishing construction of its Springfield network now and expects to open a sales office here in the next few weeks.

"Our main intention is to provide local dial-tone services. With our nationwide network, we are also able to give our customers a direct link into their long-distance carrier," Weinstein said.

Though Digital Teleport will provide residential service, it will target business customers, Weinstein said. The company is moving into secondary and tertiary markets like Springfield.

"We feel we have a distinctive product to offer. We're not concerned about too much competition in the marketplace because we feel that we distinguish ourselves enough," Weinstein said.

DTI has been around since 1989 as a telecommunications company, and in 1992 it received a certificate from the Missouri Public Service Commission granting it statewide authority to provide telecommunications services along the state's transportation system.

The company also now has interconnection agreements with Southwestern Bell, Sprint and GTE, said Kevin Kelly, spokesman for the PSC.

The company has not yet filed its tariff, but will do so before it begins dial-tone service in Springfield.

Digital Teleport also plans to get into dial-tone service in the Branson market, Weinstein said. The company will employ six to 12 people in its Springfield sales office. There are already DTI salespeople working in the market, he said, and the company will appoint a sales manager within the next few weeks.

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