Fast Facts Infrastructure: March 26, 2001

Betsy J. Bernard has been named president and CEO of AT&T's consumer services unit.

New Leader

Betsy J. Bernard has been named president and CEO of AT&Ts consumer services unit. Bernard will take over the telecom giants huge — though shrinking — consumer long-distance operation as AT&T prepares to divide into three separate companies. She previously led Qwest Communications Internationals consumer and small-business unit.

Who Will Be First?

Verizon Wireless says it will spend $5 billion over the next three years on gear from Lucent Technologies that will help Verizon deploy its "cdma2000 3G1XRTT" network, which should double the capacity of its existing network and boost data transmission speeds nearly 10 times. Sprint PCS, in the meantime, says it expects to add cdma2000 infrastructure to its existing network and launch its version of 3G before the end of the year.

Fatter, Faster

Nortel Networks says it will launch a line of products that should make optical networks run more cheaply by freighting more information faster. The products, expected to ship over the next year, are supposed to boost transmission speeds to as fast at 80 gigabits per second, up from about 10 Gbps.

Corning Warning

Corning, the worlds biggest maker of optical fiber, says slower spending by customers is likely to drive profits for 2001 to $1.20 to $1.30 per share, down from estimates of $1.40 to $1.43. The company says it has imposed stronger cost controls and may lay off workers beyond the 825 shown the door in early March.

Weak Arm

RSL Communications PLC, the European arm of troubled RSL Communications Ltd., has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The once high-flying RSL, an international telecom conglomeration run by cosmetics company heir Ronald Lauder, was delisted from Nasdaq in February, and is struggling under $1.5 billion in debt.