Intermedia Communications

Sometimes being lucky is just plain smart.

Sometimes being lucky is just plain smart.

Intermedia Communications executives were smart enough to start the Tampa, Fla., company at a prosperous time, nearly 13 years ago. And they were lucky enough to survive the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and grow their telephone company into a full-sized service provider competing directly against the big boys.

Intermedia created a network of more than 2,000 route miles and 600,000 access lines and, in the process, acquired hoster Digex.

But then WorldCom wanted Digexs hosting business and bought Intermedia to get it. Now, Intermedia is on track to become independent of WorldCom — but without Digex. Thats OK, because WorldCom also gets to keep Intermedias $3 billion debt.

Thats not just dumb luck, but it certainly couldnt have come at a better time. Six months after WorldComs purchase, the stock market collapsed.

While nearly everyone in the industry is feeling the sting of stingy lenders, Intermedia, under the leadership of CEO David C. Ruberg, is firing its engines for independence with more than 4,000 employees and about $1 billion in revenue.

Rich Black, Intermedias vice president of marketing and strategy, says the company savors its new financial position: "Im breathing a sigh of relief to find ourselves in the financial position were at today."

Still, a lot of heavy lifting lies ahead. Intermedia, for example, is busy building up its data services. Five years ago, 80 percent of revenue came from voice services. Now, data accounts for 55 percent of income.

But through the years, Black says, Intermedia has kept its focus on the midsized business market: no Fortune 1000 companies, no residential, no wholesale.

"We chose a target market and stuck with it," Black says.