Focal Communications and Verizon Enter into Regionwide Interconnection Agreement

Breakthrough Agreement Covers Seven Focal Markets



Apr 18, 2001, 01:00 ET from Focal Communications Corporation

    CHICAGO, April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Focal Communications Corporation
 (Nasdaq: FCOM), a leading national broadband services provider, today
 announced it has executed interconnection agreements with Verizon
 Communications, Inc. (NYSE:   VZ) in eight key Eastern states.  Among other
 provisions, these agreements establish inter-carrier compensation rates for
 Internet traffic exchanged between the two companies networks throughout
 Focal's Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern markets.  The parties intend that these
 agreements would not be affected by subsequent FCC or Congressional action.
     "We are pleased with the progress that has been made with Verizon on many
 issues.  This landmark agreement incorporates a framework to advance the
 technical interconnection standards, and at the same time it consolidates all
 of our interconnection terms," commented Robert Taylor, president and chief
 executive officer of Focal.  "This is part of a continuing market trend for
 the industry.  It provides us with a level of certainty for reciprocal
 compensation in several of our largest markets."
     The agreement covers seven Focal markets including Baltimore, Boston, New
 Jersey, New York, Northern Virginia, Philadelphia and Washington D.C.  It
 establishes two levels of compensation for traffic exchanged between the
 companies through September 2002.  For traffic below a 10-to-1 ratio of
 originating to terminating traffic, the average rate is .15 cents per minute
 throughout the life of the agreement.  For traffic that exceeds the ratio, the
 average rate is .12 cents per minute of use.
     In addition, the agreement provides for the most advanced form of
 interconnection at interconnection points within geographically-relevant areas
 between the two local networks throughout the region.  It underscores Focal's
 leadership in providing a highly sophisticated, state-of-the-art network that
 virtually eliminates call blocking due to network congestion.
 
     About Focal
     Focal Communications Corporation ( www.focal.com ) is a rapidly growing
 national broadband communications provider. Headquartered in Chicago, Focal
 offers innovative voice, data and Internet infrastructure services to large
 corporations, Internet service, content and application service providers, and
 value-added resellers across the United States. Focal currently serves 21
 major metropolitan markets and has announced plans to deploy services in a
 total of 24 markets, encompassing 56 metropolitan statistical areas
 nationwide.  Focal's common stock is traded on the Nasdaq National Market
 under the symbol FCOM.
 
 

SOURCE Focal Communications Corporation
    CHICAGO, April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Focal Communications Corporation
 (Nasdaq: FCOM), a leading national broadband services provider, today
 announced it has executed interconnection agreements with Verizon
 Communications, Inc. (NYSE:   VZ) in eight key Eastern states.  Among other
 provisions, these agreements establish inter-carrier compensation rates for
 Internet traffic exchanged between the two companies networks throughout
 Focal's Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern markets.  The parties intend that these
 agreements would not be affected by subsequent FCC or Congressional action.
     "We are pleased with the progress that has been made with Verizon on many
 issues.  This landmark agreement incorporates a framework to advance the
 technical interconnection standards, and at the same time it consolidates all
 of our interconnection terms," commented Robert Taylor, president and chief
 executive officer of Focal.  "This is part of a continuing market trend for
 the industry.  It provides us with a level of certainty for reciprocal
 compensation in several of our largest markets."
     The agreement covers seven Focal markets including Baltimore, Boston, New
 Jersey, New York, Northern Virginia, Philadelphia and Washington D.C.  It
 establishes two levels of compensation for traffic exchanged between the
 companies through September 2002.  For traffic below a 10-to-1 ratio of
 originating to terminating traffic, the average rate is .15 cents per minute
 throughout the life of the agreement.  For traffic that exceeds the ratio, the
 average rate is .12 cents per minute of use.
     In addition, the agreement provides for the most advanced form of
 interconnection at interconnection points within geographically-relevant areas
 between the two local networks throughout the region.  It underscores Focal's
 leadership in providing a highly sophisticated, state-of-the-art network that
 virtually eliminates call blocking due to network congestion.
 
     About Focal
     Focal Communications Corporation ( www.focal.com ) is a rapidly growing
 national broadband communications provider. Headquartered in Chicago, Focal
 offers innovative voice, data and Internet infrastructure services to large
 corporations, Internet service, content and application service providers, and
 value-added resellers across the United States. Focal currently serves 21
 major metropolitan markets and has announced plans to deploy services in a
 total of 24 markets, encompassing 56 metropolitan statistical areas
 nationwide.  Focal's common stock is traded on the Nasdaq National Market
 under the symbol FCOM.
 
 SOURCE  Focal Communications Corporation