DENVER, November 8, 2001 ? Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q), the broadband communications company, moved a key step closer to offering Colorado customers a real choice in long-distance service when the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued decisions on the remaining two of 14 checklist items necessary for the company?s re-entry into the long-distance business in Colorado.
?This ruling highlights the fair and equal access to Qwest?s network that exists for competitors as required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Congress,? said Kevin Smith, Qwest vice president of policy and law for Colorado. ?Qwest?s long-distance re-entry will mean more than $200 million in savings to customers, which will be a big boost to the state?s economy.?
A study by Professor Jerry A Hausman, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Telecommunications Economics Research Program, found that Colorado residents could save $200 million annually in local and long-distance charges once Qwest is allowed to re-enter the long-distance market. According to the study, Qwest?s re-entry will save residential and business customers in-region well over $1 billion annually. After Qwest is approved to re-enter the long-distance business by the FCC, the company will be able to provide customers with another choice for long-distance service, as well as offer bundled services and the convenience of a single bill.
Additionally, a report by Consumer Action, an independent consumer non-profit, found that long-distance rates are increasing everywhere except in states where the local exchange carrier has been approved to offer competitive long-distance services. The study found that rates actually decreased in these states.
In Colorado, decisions have been issued on all federally mandated 14-point checklist items. They include: interconnection and collocation; unbundled network elements; poles, ducts, conduits and rights-of-way; loops; transport; switching; 911, directory assistance and operator services; white page directory listings; number administration; signaling and databases; number portability; dialing parity; resale; and reciprocal compensation.
Additionally, more than 90 percent of the wholesale performance indicators that Qwest measures monthly to support its re-entry into the long-distance business meet or exceed either the benchmark standard or are at parity with retail measurements. This meets or exceeds wholesale service results for local exchange carriers in states that already have FCC approval to enter the long-distance business.
Testing of Qwest?s operational support systems (OSS) is making steady progress. The Regional Oversight Committee?s OSS testing process, made up of regulators from 13 states in Qwest?s local service territory, is approximately 80 percent complete and is expected to conclude by mid- to late December.
When Qwest acquired U S WEST, the company had to divest itself of its long-distance operations in the 14 western states where U S WEST provided local service. Under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Qwest can re-enter the long-distance business once its application to the FCC has been approved.
Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) is a leader in reliable, scalable and secure broadband 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 190,000 miles globally. For more information, please visit the Qwest Web site at www.qwest.com.
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