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Entergy may unload Hyperion in focus on power

Hyperion Telecommunications working hard despite sale rumors

Hyperion Telecommunications` partnership with Entergy, a $7 billion company with more than five million customers worldwide, may be short-lived. Even though the communication services company opened early this year and is exceeding projected sales goals, Entergy may sell it.

Entergy spokesman Cyril Guerarra declined comment on whether Hyperion Telecommunications is part of Entergy`s sell-off of services, saying “we have not really stated which of the telecommunication segments would be among those on the market.”

But Entergy Hyperion Telecommunications plans to start marketing its new Internet and long-distance products under the same name within 90 days, said Wayne Drash, sales manager for Entergy Hyperion Telecommunications.

Entergy Hyperion Telecommunications is a competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC), rivaling BellSouth for local business telephone service in the Jackson area, with approximately 100 miles of fiber optic cable. The third largest CLEC in the nation (NASDAQ: HYPT), it has been “quite easy” to compete against BellSouth, Drash said.

“The majority of their service is delivered over a copper network,” Drash said. “The quality of transmission over fiber optic tends to be better. Also, businesses are looking for an alternative to BellSouth service to enhance the quality of service they receive and to lower their telecommunications cost.”

EHT sells business phone services 20% below BellSouth`s basic rates and bundles features via trunk lines to save almost 40%, Drash said.

Three state capitals make up a three-city partnership with more than 350 miles of fiber optic cable. Little Rock, Ark. and Baton Rouge, La. are associated with Jackson. Currently, there are 22 network cities, with service planned in an additional 25 cities in 1999. With the exception of a few, all are located east of the Mississippi River, Drash said.

Hyperion recently agreed to pay $107 million to Qwest Communications, Williams Communications and to several other leading fiber optic network providers for the indefeasible right of use (IRU) to over 8,100 route miles, allowing Hyperion to connect its markets by the end of 2001.

The network will allow Hyperion to use its fiber optic SONET architecture to extend service offerings to include a strong Internet base and other data applications, such as IP, ATM and Frame Relay. SONET cable is laid in rings, or continuous loops, with a signal that can travel in either direction. If a break occurs, the signal immediately reverses direction, with little or no interruption in the connection.

Entergy Hyperion Telecommunications in Jackson currently has a staff of 18, an increase of about 50% in eight months, Drash said. “We`re adding people all the time,” he said.

Whether Hyperion Telecommunications will stay connected to the Entergy family remains to be seen. Drash said only that, “we have been asked not to comment.”

Entergy`s other subsidiaries include security monitoring, energy management, wholesale utilities, and domestic and overseas power systems.


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