Wholesale/transport services

Level 3 CEO Rips Into Gilder

In a candid rant preceding his official comments, Level 3 Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: LVLT) CEO James Q. Crowe offered a blistering assessment of George Gilder's analysis of the fiber-optics industry -- all but branding him a fraud.

Crowe's comments came after Level 3 was criticized in a recent edition of the Gilder Technology Report, of which Gilder is the publisher. Crowe was speaking at UBS Warburg's Telecom Conference held in New York City.

"Mr. Gilder says that Level 3 is being displaced by others and that we only believe in fiber and not long-haul [optical networking] technology," said Crowe. "We absolutely do believe in long-haul. It suprises me that Mr. Gilder says this because he never checked with us."

Crowe said Gilder's assessment of fiber conduit technology was fundamentally wrong, since the smaller fiber conduits --called "Metronets" -- that Gilder advocates cannot yet be used on long-haul applications.

Crowe also charged Gilder with bias resulting from his business dealings.

"I challenge Gilder to disclose the companies who make payments to his company and to list them next to his picks," said Crowe.

Following the diatribe, Crowe went on to make some optimistic forecasts on the fiber-optic industry, saying that most evidence points to demand for bandwidth outstripping supply for the next 10 years.

-- R. Scott Raynovich, executive editor, Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com
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