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ORLANDO-Locally based Epic Communications Inc., which half-built a nationwide fiber optics network over the past 2 ½ years, is ending dreams of a national chain and instead will focus on the Southeast market exclusively.

To do that, Epic’s parent, Florida East Coast Industries Inc. of St. Augustine, FL, one of the largest commercial/industrial and real estate conglomerates in the state, is shaking up Epic’s executive suite and eliminating 100 jobs associated with developing a national telecommunications network.

Instead, Epic’s new executive team will concentrate on improving the company’s balance sheet.

“With these initiatives, FECI expects to reduce Epik’s annualized operating costs by approximately $14 million from approximately $53 million, before depreciation and amortization expense,” Robert Anestis, FECI’s chairman, president and CEO, says in a prepared statement.

Leaving Epik are John D. McClellan, Epik’s founding president and chief architect of the project; Benjamin Finzi, chief operating officer; and Bob Byrne, chief financial officer.

Arriving from Utilicom Networks Inc. in Franklin, MA to take charge is E. Craig Sanders, Epik’s new president. Working with him as interim chief financial officer is Carlos L. Rojas, former CFO at Tess, SA in Brazil and BellSouth Ecuador, two international telecommunications firms.

Epik has laid 1,850 miles of fiber conduits throughout Florida. The conduits connect to Atlanta, the major Southeast communities hub in the Epik network. The Southeast hub also links intercontinental cables in South Florida from an Internet switching center in Miami called Network Access Point or NAP.

Epik’s corporate restructuring comes as the telecommunications industry is suffering from nationwide customer demand of fiber optics network services.

FECI’s Anestis says in the company’s prepared statement he is “confident that the steps we have taken today will enable Epik to serve its current and future customers effectively and to grow as market conditions improve.”

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