The United States Telephone Association has called for more voluntary interconnection agreements between telecom companies, claiming that the resulting competition will bring consumers more choices. USTA cited more than 50 signed agreements with companies that want to connect to the local network, and nearly 500 ongoing negotiations.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved the Gas Research Institute's request for a 20-percent cut in its 1996 research, development, and commercialization budget. The revised budget is $44 million less than the $218.8-million package approved last October. The downsizing corresponds with a significant drop in revenues collected under GRI's current funding mechanism. Similar cuts will be proposed in the 1997 and 1998 programs.
Electric utilities, local distribution companies, and natural gas pipelines purchase $2.5 billion yearly in outsourcing services, according to TECC Group, Inc., a Littleton, CO, research firm. Some 80 percent of that figure goes to computer, construction, consulting, engineering, corporate, environmental, financial, legal, management, and research services.