Wiring Europe The American Way

Straight-talking Yankee Jack McMaster has big plans to bring high-speed Net access to the Old World the American way

Jack McMaster wanted to take a big gamble. It was last December, and the 43-year-old American had arrived in the Netherlands only a few months before to run KPNQwest, a joint venture between that country's former telephone monopoly, KPN Telecom, and the upstart Denver-based Qwest Communications International Inc. So he proposed building a $300 million state-of-the-art fiber-optic network in Spain, part of an ambitious plan to blanket the Continent with high-speed Internet connections. "In for a dime, in for a dollar," McMaster said in his usual folksy slang. The Dutch were dumbfounded. "What's that mean?" asked KPNQwest's chief operating officer, Henjo Groenewegen.

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