San Francisco, September 29, 1998 - Nearly 500 university researchers and corporate members of Internet2 are in San Francisco today for the first public demonstration of Abilene, a high-performance $500 million network developed by the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID) in partnership with Qwest Communications, Nortel Networks (Northern Telecom) and Cisco Systems.

Announced at the White House by Vice President Gore less than six months ago, the Abilene network is now supporting applications between Purdue University, Indiana University, the Great Plains Network in Kansas City, the University of Washington, and San Francisco. The network will formally launch in January 1999, serving as an Internet2 backbone network using fiber provided by Qwest Communications.

"We are combining leading edge fiber technology with leading edge routing technology to produce the most advanced R&D network in the world and enable the most advanced applications," said Abilene project director Terry Rogers. "As we roll out connections to nearly 70 universities over the next year, we plan to build a network that pushes beyond commercially available technology."

The day to day operations, including problem determination and resolution, asset management, will be managed from Indiana University, which as a project partner, will run Abilene's Network Operation Center.

"The operational center of the Abilene research and education network is appropriately located on a university campus," said Indiana University Vice President for Information Technology Michael A. McRobbie. "Our highly skilled network engineers have extensive experience in managing complex university, state, and more recently national and international next generation networks. Being university-based, the IU team is intimately acquainted with the network applications needs of higher education."

UCAID's corporate partners in Abilene believe that the new network will push the boundaries of current Internet technology.

"As the IP network backbone provider for Abilene, Qwest is excited to see the project progress so quickly and successfully," said Lew Wilks, president of business markets for Qwest. "Through Abilene ? the farthest reaching, highest capacity research and education network in the world ? it is amazing that technological innovations, which we once thought could not exist, are being created. At Qwest we're proud to be one of the driving forces behind this worthwhile project."

Abilene will use high-speed Sonet equipment from Nortel Networks, and IP-over-Sonet routers from Cisco Systems to provide unparalleled networking capabilities to the member universities of Internet2. It will also provide advanced services, such as quality of service and multicast.

"Nortel Networks is strongly committed to Internet2, and believes that the creation of the Abilene network is critical to move the industry forward. Providing the advanced optical network infrastructure is the first step, towards supporting advanced applications," said Geoff Goddard, Vice President, Advanced Network Engineering, Nortel Networks. "Nortel Networks is looking forward to working with our Internet2 partners on the next steps, which will use advanced applications to drive not only infrastructure evolution, but also the key enabling middleware capabilities such as Quality of Service, security, and policy management."

"Cisco is proud to be providing carrier-class equipment and services to the Abilene network for the research and higher education community," said Stephen Wolff, Executive Director of Advanced Internet Initiatives Division at Cisco. "We believe that the understanding gained from the stresses of their advanced and demanding applications can only benefit further development of our products and of networking technology generally.

Any higher education institution participating in the Internet2 project through membership in the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID) is eligible to use the Abilene backbone network.

The Abilene project plans to interconnect with existing advanced research and education networks, such as the very high performance Backbone Network Service (vBNS), and work with federal agencies involved engaged in the Next Generation Internet initiative. The vBNS is a network provided under a cooperativence Foundation (NSF) and MCI to NSF-approved institutions of research and higher learning. Abilene and the vBNS will both serve as Internet2 backbone networks, consistent with the research and education community's needs for a diverse advanced networking environment.

About the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID)

The University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development provides leadership and direction for advanced networking development within the U.S. university community. Its activities include the Internet2 project, as well as other programs devoted to network research, technology transfer, and collaborative activities in related fields such as distance learning and educational technology. Internet2 is a collaborative project by over

120 U.S. research universities, in partnership with industry leaders and U.S. federal agencies, to develop a new family of advanced applications to meet emerging academic requirements in research, teaching and learning. Internet2 is addressing this challenge by creating a leading edge network capability, enabling a new generation of applications, and integrating these efforts with the current academic Internet services. For more information, see

About Qwest

Qwest Communications International Inc. (NASDAQ: QWST) is a multimedia communications company and one of the fastest growing companies in America today. Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, Qwest has approximately 6,000 employees and over 80 sales offices worldwide. With its world-class data and multimedia network, marketing expertise, and customer care and billing systems, Qwest is delivering high-quality data, video and voice connectivity securely and reliably to customers around the world. Further information is available at

About Cisco

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. News and information are available at

About Nortel Networks

Nortel Networks works with customers in more than 150 countries to design, build and integrate their communications products and advanced digital networks. Customers include public and private institutions; Intedistance, cellular mobile and PCS communications companies; cable television companies; and utilities. For more information, visit Nortel Network's web site at

Media Contacts:

Greg Wood

Diane Reberger

Cisco Systems
Joan Stone, Cunningham Communications for Cisco Systems, Inc.

Nortel Networks
Shelley Grandy

This release may contain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. These statements may differ materially from actual future events or results. Readers are referred to the documents filed by Qwest with the SEC, specifically the most recent reports on Form 10-Q, which identify important risk factors that could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, including potential fluctuations in quarterly results, dependence on new product development, rapid technological and market change, failure to complete the network on schedule, volatility of stock price, financial risk management and future growth subject to risks.

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Contact Information

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Tyler Gronbach

(303) 992-2155