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July 03, 1998|Bloomberg News

Ascend Communications Inc. said it named Reed Hundt, former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, to the board of the No. 4 computer-networking company. Hundt, who as the federal government's top telecommunications policymaker led the push for deregulating the industry, said he plans to be "involved in opening foreign markets and assessing [Ascend's] strategies" related to products that combine voice and fax calls with Internet communications. Ascend and rivals such as Cisco Systems Inc. are selling more equipment to phone companies and Internet providers, who want it to transfer voice and data traffic between the Internet and the public phone network. Shares of Alameda-based Ascend rose 75 cents to close at $49 on Nasdaq. With Hundt on its board, Ascend will have "access to people and expertise it may not otherwise have had access to," said Craig Johnson, an analyst with the research firm Pita Group in Portland, Ore.

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