Denver, September 19, 2000 — Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q), the broadband Internet communications company, today announced a series of sweeping policy changes, including new wholesale products and services. These initiatives, designed to increase competition for homes and businesses, include expanding competitive access to Qwest's network, a performance assurance and service quality plan designed to benefit competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs), and dropping 17 lawsuits filed against state regulatory agencies.
The pro-competitive initiatives for competitive local exchange carriers will speed the deployment of competitive services and increase the efficiency of their networks. In many cases these new Qwest initiatives go beyond the requirements of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Qwest is in discussions with its wholesale customers regarding how the company can deploy these new products to better serve their needs.
"This doesn’t just open the door to competitors, it takes down the door," said Steve Davis, Qwest Communications senior vice president for policy and law. "Our wholesale customers will have faster, easier access to our network, which will create greater competition and more choices for consumers."
Additionally, Qwest is voluntarily offering a Performance Assurance Plan designed to track Qwest's performance on nearly 600 measures of the quality of service it provides to CLECs. The Performance Assurance Plan, which goes into effect once long distance entry has been approved, offers compensation to CLECs if Qwest fails to attain certain service levels. In addition Qwest announced that beginning in October 2000 it will publicly disclose performance data previously provided to state commissions on a confidential basis.
Qwest has also dropped 17 lawsuits previously filed by U S WEST in courts throughout the states where Qwest provides local services. The lawsuits challenged the authority of state regulatory agencies in many aspects to require interconnection obligations in the area of equipment collocation, prices and the bundling of services. They were challenged by CLECs throughout U S WEST's territory and have been criticized by some as an attempt to slow the progress of local market competition.
Davis stated that the company is reviewing additional market opening proposals that will be announced in the near future. "This is a significant step in a series that Qwest will make over the next few months to increase competition and give consumers more choices for local phone service."
The new Qwest pro-competitive initiatives are: CLEC-to-CLEC connections for the purpose of mutually exchanging local traffic; allowing collocation of high-speed packet data switches in Qwest central offices; offering CLECs the option of pre-ordering unbundled dedicated interoffice transport prior to completion of the CLECs collocation space in Qwest central offices; offering a single point of interconnection per Local Access Transport Area (LATA); offering CLECs a 90 day collocation interval and the ability to reserve collocation space.
"Qwest is taking a fresh approach to proactively meet the needs of wholesale customers," said Gregory M. Casey, executive vice president for wholesale markets. "Wholesale sales forces will soon be on a new compensation plan to stimulate sales and meet customer needs. We intend to have double digit growth in wholesale sales in 2001 because of the demands of firms that want to provide local service."
"We've said from day one that Qwest is going to be different," said Davis. "We said we wanted to bring about competition in all markets – local service, long distance, cable television, the Internet – and starting today we’re going to make this a reality."
The following pro-competitive initiatives and new wholesale products announced by Qwest today will be rolled out over the next 30 days:
CLEC to CLEC Connections: U S WEST required competitors to build their own facilities outside the central office to connect to other CLECs. Qwest will now allow CLECs to directly connect with each other within a central office for the purpose of mutually exchanging local traffic.
This should reduce the costs to CLECS and allow them to more efficiently provide service. It benefits consumers in that competitors can get to market more quickly.
ATMs in Central Offices: CLECs want to provide state-of-the-art digital switching capability (ATMs) to meet the advanced data needs of customers. Qwest will now allow collocation of these switches in every central office where there is space and power available.
CLECs will no longer need to lease extra space outside of a central office. It creates a more efficient network, because all elements are contained within the central office, and it requires less time to deploy.
Pre-Provisioning of Unbundled Dedicated Interoffice Transport: U S WEST required that construction of a CLEC’s collocation space be complete prior to accepting orders for unbundled dedicated interoffice transport. Wholesale customers may now order service prior to completion of the CLEC's collocation space.
CLECs will benefit by being able to quickly provide service to their customers once the construction of their collocation space is complete.
Single Point of Interconnection per LATA: U S WEST required competitors to interconnect their facilities with U S WEST facilities in each local calling area. Qwest will now interconnect with CLECs at a mutually agreed to single point or mid-point within a LATA.
CLECs should have improved network efficiency by interconnecting at a single point rather than multiple points within a LATA.
Collocation in 90-Days: Qwest will now offer collocation space within 90 days of Qwest's receipt of a CLEC's request for collocation provided that sufficient space is available.
CLECs benefit by being able to gain market entry more quickly through reduced interval.
Collocation Space Reservation: Qwest will now offer wholesale customers the ability to reserve collocation space.
CLECs will now be able to better plan for future market entry by reserving space for up to one year in advance.
Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) is a leader in reliable, scalable and secure broadband Internet-based data, voice and image communications for businesses and consumers. The Qwest Macro Capacity® Fiber Network, designed with the newest optical networking equipment for speed and efficiency, spans more than 104,000 miles globally. For more information, please visit the Qwest web site at www.qwest.com.
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 and U S WEST, Inc. with the Securities and Exchange Commission, specifically the most recent reports 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 maintain rights of way, financial risk management and future growth subject to risks, adverse changes in the regulatory or legislative environment, and failure to achieve the synergies and financial results expected from the acquisition of U S WEST. This release may include analysts' estimates and other information prepared by third parties, for which Qwest assumes no responsibility. Qwest undertakes no obligation to review or confirm analysts' expectations or estimates or to release publicly any revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
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