OLYMPIA, Wa., May 22, 2001 ? Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE:Q) Chairman and CEO Joseph P. Nacchio today announced an innovative program to significantly expand Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) service in Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver, Bremerton and Bellingham and to introduce the service in Port Angeles, Sumner and Yakima. Nacchio made the announcement before meetings with Governor Gary Locke, members of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, customers and employees.
?Our customers have told us they want high-speed Internet service, so expanding DSL service is one of our key objectives,? said Nacchio. ?With this significant expansion of service, many more consumers and businesses may take advantage of DSL?s efficiency and convenience.?
In Washington, Qwest will provide DSL capability to an additional 140,000 homes and businesses located in metropolitan Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver, Bremerton and Bellingham this year. The company will also introduce DSL service in Port Angeles, Sumner and Yakima later this summer. Qwest DSL is currently offered in 11 key Washington cities, including Bellingham, Bellevue, Bremerton, Federal Way, Kent, Olympia, Renton, Spokane, Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver. The company is proactively notifying customers when DSL service becomes available in their area.
Qwest has already deployed its DSL service in 74 markets where it provides local telephone service. Qwest also is expanding DSL service in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, and Utah. The company plans to add 1.3 million additional DSL-capable homes and businesses in 11 states by the end of 2001, and 1.2 million by the end of 2002, bringing the number of DSL capable-customers to more than 6 million by the end of 2002.
Qwest also provides DSL service to businesses through its local broadband operations in an additional 20 markets across the U.S. Capital for the DSL expansion program was planned for 2001 and no increase in earlier-announced spending is required.
This program represents a significant step for Qwest to achieve its goal of 500,000 DSL customers by the end of 2001. At the end of first quarter, Qwest reported more than 306,000 DSL customers. Qwest also recently announced a partnership with Microsoft to provide consumers a bundle that includes Qwest DSL and content from MSN, tailored specifically for broadband users. The bundle will be introduced later this summer.
Qwest also is expanding its DSL program as it prepares to re-enter the long distance business in a number of states by the end of the year. Decisions about other markets where DSL service will be provided or expanded will be based on where the company may most effectively deliver a combination of long-distance and broadband Internet communications. Qwest also is exploring ways to work in partnership with smaller, rural areas to provide DSL service.
Qwest has taken several important steps in preparing for expansion of its DSL coverage in Washington. The company recently installed technology that allows DSL equipment to be placed outside of the neighborhood communications central office and closer to customer homes and businesses, enabling Qwest to provide up to 60 percent more customers with high-speed, broadband Internet access by the end of 2002. The technology, referred to as a remote terminal, provides customers the same telephone line quality and speed as those serviced directly from a central office. At the same time Qwest is expanding its retail DSL service capability, it is also making its underlying network available to competitive local service providers who want to offer competing services.
During his visit, Nacchio stressed Qwest?s commitment to Washington, and discussed the strides the company has made to improve service, increase investment and re-enter the long distance business. Nacchio also was to meet late in the day with Seattle employees to thank them for improving service and to dedicate further effort in helping the company re-enter the long distance business in Washington.
?I want to commend all of you for your commitment to improving customer service,? said Nacchio. ?At the end of the day, we need to ensure that the service all of our customers receive, both wholesale and retail, is among the best in the industry. That, as much as anything, will help open the door for our re-entry into long distance.?
Nacchio said Washington is a critical state to Qwest and ?we are demonstrating that significance by improving service and investing in our network from Puget Sound to Eastern Washington. Since we acquired U S WEST last June, we?ve improved service in Washington to the best level it has been in five to seven years, we?ve reduced the number of held orders in the state to zero, and we have upgraded every central office to digital technology.?
In Washington, Qwest?s service data at the end of the first-quarter 2001 for residential and small-business customers showed:
- More than 98 percent of customer installation commitments were met on time ? the best results in five years;
- Service complaints to the Washington Commission were down 60% in the first quarter of 2001 compared to the first quarter of 2000;
- Repair commitments were met almost 96 percent of the time ? the best results in five years;
- Repeat repairs decreased by more than 15 percent;
- In the first quarter of 2001, Qwest repaired more than 89 percent of all service outages in Washington in 24 hours or less ? an improvement of about 11 percent over the first quarter 2000 ? the best results in seven years.
With regard to long distance re-entry, Nacchio confirmed that Qwest anticipates being in full compliance by the end of this summer and would file shortly thereafter with the FCC. In Washington, Qwest has completed three of the four workshop sessions that evaluate Qwest?s compliance with rules to re-enter the long-distance business and will complete the fourth and final workshop by the end of July.
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 106,000 miles globally. For more information, please visit the Qwest web site at www.qwest.com.
This release may contain projections and other 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 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, volatility of Qwest's stock price, intense competition in the communications services market, changes in demand for Qwest's products and services, dependence on new product development and acceleration of the deployment of advanced new services, such as broadband data, wireless and video services, which could require substantial expenditure of financial and other resources in excess of contemplated levels, higher than anticipated employee levels, capital expenditures and operating expenses, rapid and significant changes in technology and markets, adverse changes in the regulatory or legislative environment affecting Qwest's business and delays in Qwest's ability to provide interLATA services within its 14-state local service territory, failure to maintain rights of way, and failure to achieve the projected synergies and financial results expected to result from the acquisition of U S WEST timely or at all and difficulties in combining the operations of Qwest and 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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