DENVER -- Qwest Communications International Inc. (Nasdaq: QWST) today announced a strategic alliance to build broadband business multimedia services. Through the alliance, Qwest and Cisco will build the most advanced broadband native Internet Protocol (IP) network capable of delivering telephony, fax, videoconferencing, whiteboarding, multicasting, and other multimedia applications.

Cisco also announced Qwest's deployment of Cisco's top-of-the-line gigabit switch routers, the Cisco 12000 series, initially at OC-12 (622 Mbps) rates, into Qwest's OC-192 (10 Gbps) SONET network. Deployment has begun on Qwest's currently active network between Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver and will continue as the rest of the network is activated.

Cisco and Qwest will jointly define and test new products that would expand Cisco's offerings into the next generation of voice/data/video central office (CO). These new "IP-based" COs will be an integral part of Qwest's Terabit Points of Presence (TeraPOP) Internet network. Initial collaboration is currently scheduled to include voice gateways, provisioning and interfaces to applications such as customer care, billing and status monitoring.

With the demand for high-bandwidth Internet applications such as telephony and video conferencing, per capita consumption of bandwidth is doubling every year in the United States. Industry estimates suggest that Internet traffic is growing at an annual rate of 300 percent, and the number of Web servers is growing at a rate of 2,400 percent each year. This rapid growth is forcing current providers of network services to rethink the performance, capacity and configuration requirements for the COs of the future.

"Selecting the world leader in networking for the Internet allows us to pioneer the exploding market for multimedia communication," said Joseph P. Nacchio, president and CEO of Qwest. In this new era in networking, Qwest will be replacing today's disjointed offerings for telephony, data and video with a single network. Working with Cisco will enhance our leading-edge position in the industry through the introduction of IP telephony, visual communication and other IP services over our advanced technology network."

According to John Chambers, president and CEO of Cisco, "Our alliance with Qwest will position Cisco as a key provider of the next generation of the central office in the new era of IP telephony. As Qwest develops its network, Cisco will be there with the products to support its growth."

Network Capacity Provides New Platform for Services "Qwest's network with its capacity will provide the platform to accelerate the long-awaited world of broadband multimedia services," said Dr. Nayel Shafei, Qwest executive vice president of product development. With Cisco's continuous development to handle higher optical carrier rates, it is the perfect company to enable Qwest to take full advantage of this unmatched capacity," he added.

Dr. Shafei explained that Qwest's network starts with 48 fibers (with the capability to add ten times as many fibers through additional in-place conduits), bidirectional, line switching OC-192 ring SONET nationwide network. Each fiber can carry 8 wave division multiplexing (WDM) windows, where each WDM window has a bandwidth of 10 gigabits per second, providing Qwest with the potential of a multi terabit-per-second capability. When Qwest's network reaches its fullest capacity, trillions of bits per second, it could transmit the entire contents of the Library of Congress coast to coast in 20 seconds.

Performing Internet routing and switching at gigabit speeds, Cisco's new 12000 series is the first in a new product class of gigabit switch routers. The Cisco 12000 series provides scalable IP forwarding and services performance in a carrier-class platform, enabling high-speed IP backbones to scale to OC-12, OC-48 (2.4 Gbps) and, in the future, OC-192 (10 Gbps).

"Qwest's cooperation with Cisco will enable us in developing the next generation of gigabit and terabit routers, as well as voice gateways, said Don Listwin, senior vice president, of Cisco's Service Provider Line of Business. The cooperation will include product definition and testing the new products on Qwest's advanced network."

About Qwest Qwest Communications International, Inc. (Nasdaq: QWST) is a multimedia communications company building a high-capacity, fiber optic network for the 21st century. Qwest's planned domestic network will connect 125 cities, which represent approximately 80 percent of the data and voice traffic originating in the United States, upon its completion in the second quarter of 1999. Qwest is also extending its network 1,400 miles into Mexico with completion slated for late third quarter 1998. With its cutting-edge technology, Qwest will deliver high-quality voice, data and video connectivity securely and reliably to businesses, consumers and other communications service providers.

Contact Information
Qwest Media Contact
Diane Reberger
Outside Contacts:
Media Contact
Erin McKelvey
(303) 615-5070