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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.

Deregulation in the telephone industry was supposed to be bring long distance rates down but they have continued to rise. Major long distance carriers have increased rates by adding monthly fees to get "discount" rates, or have simply increased rates for their standard plans.

A segment of the long distance industry is bucking the trend. By reducing overhead and limiting advertising expenditures, long distance resellers are offering service at low rates and without monthly fees.

AmeriCom Long Distance, a 15-year-old Utah-based long distance company is part of that trend. The company offers long distance at just five and a half cents per minute with no monthly fee or minimum, no matter the number of calls customers make. Using a network of independent agents, AmeriCom markets and accepts orders via the Internet. With AmeriCom's high level of automation, customers can switch long distance carriers by simply entering their order on the company's Web site. To protect against slamming or unauthorized switching of long distance customers, each customer must confirm their order using an automated verification system.

All this automation translates into lower costs to the consumer.

In the United States, calls from all carriers (large or small) are routed over the same national fiber optic network. So the quality of a call is the same for all companies.

Richard Kreutzer, AmeriCom's CEO and founder, started the company in 1984. AmeriCom has now been able to procure long distance rates for domestic calls at rates well below what the larger long distance companies can offer, and domestic long distance is now AmeriCom's primary focus. For more information, visit the company's Web site at or call 800-820-6296.

For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.

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