FCC to Create State and Local Group: The Federal Communications Commission will form a local and state government committee. The new group will advise the commission on how to best implement parts of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which was signed into law by President Clinton last February.
The committee will consist of elected local and state government officials and meet at least three times a year. The FCC is taking applications and nominations until Jan. 27.
Revenues: A disappointing fourth quarter at PSINet, Herndon, Va., brought the Internet access provider's stock price tumbling. PSINet blamed the results on its shift away from the consumer Internet market in 1996.
PSINet executives said in a release they expect actual revenues between $22 million and $23.5 million for the quarter ending Dec. 31. Earlier company projections for the quarter were between $26 million and $31 million. The discrepancy caused Montgomery Securities Corp. of San Francisco, the investment banking firm that took PSINet public in 1985, to change its recommendation of the stock to "sell."
Paying Through the Internet: IBM Corp., Armonk, N.Y., and MasterCard International, Purchase, N.Y., have formed a marketing alliance for credit card payments over the Internet. The service, CommercePoint, is designed to be a secure way for MasterCard customers to pay bills online.
The service uses the Secure Electronic Transaction Internet security standard. IBM is also using SET, which was developed last summer by MasterCard, Visa and IBM, in other alliances with international banks. Merchants will use IBM's Net.Commerce software, and individual MasterCard holders will use IBM's digital wallet software.
ISDN Comes to District: District of Columbia residents can now get integrated services digital network service through Philadelphia-based Bell Atlantic. The service, which allows faster access to the Internet than traditional telephone lines, had previously been sold only at business rates.
Prices, however, will still turn off many casual Internet users. Bell Atlantic is charging $31 a month for 20 hours of use and $120 a month for 500 hours. Unlimited use is available for $249 per month. Additionally, installation will cost a minimum of $125.
- Shannon Henry
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