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Telecom carrier expanding, but issues loom

Williams Communications on Thursday announced a worldwide expansion of its services, amid concerns about its financial health. Williams said it now offers data services over network protocols like frame relay and ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) in more than 20 countries, including Australia, France and Japan. The Tulsa, Okla.-based company also expanded its private-line services into major cities, including London and Paris, and will increase its services in places like Belgium and Ireland. The expansion comes as Standard & Poor's cut Williams' credit rating Tuesday over concerns that the carrier may not be able to fund its business plan past 2002. Williams CEO Howard Janzen said in a letter to shareholders Wednesday that the action will not increase the company's borrowing costs and that the company will continue to expand services to increase revenue.

Williams Communications on Thursday announced a worldwide expansion of its services, amid concerns about its financial health. Williams said it now offers data services over network protocols like frame relay and ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) in more than 20 countries, including Australia, France and Japan. The Tulsa, Okla.-based company also expanded its private-line services into major cities, including London and Paris, and will increase its services in places like Belgium and Ireland.

The expansion comes as Standard & Poor's cut Williams' credit rating Tuesday over concerns that the carrier may not be able to fund its business plan past 2002. Williams CEO Howard Janzen said in a letter to shareholders Wednesday that the action will not increase the company's borrowing costs and that the company will continue to expand services to increase revenue.