OMAHA, Neb., May 7, 2002 ? Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q), moved another step closer to offering Nebraska customers a real choice in long-distance service when the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) issued a decision on the final 14-point checklist items established by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
?We are pleased to finish the checklist process here in Nebraska," said Tim Sandos, Qwest vice president of policy and law for Nebraska. ?It reflects a lot of work on the part of the Commission, the staff and Qwest to bring more long-distance options, better service and lower prices to customers in the state.?
?Through the leadership of Commission chair Anne Boyle and of the application hearing officer Commissioner Frank Landis, as well as the diligence of Commissioners Lowell Johnson, Rod Johnson, and Jerry Vap, the Nebraska Public Service Commission has brought us to the verge of providing greater local and long-distance competition to Nebraska and all of our 14 Western states,? said Steve Davis, Qwest senior vice president of policy and law. "The Nebraska Commission has been a leader in the 13-state testing of Qwest?s systems to assure compliance with the requirements of the Telecommunications Act.?
Qwest?s long-distance re-entry will save customers in Nebraska more than $40 million annually, or an average of up to $105 per residential customer, according to a study by Professor Jerry A. Hausman, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Telecommunications Economics Research Program. After Qwest is approved to re-enter the long-distance business, the company will be able to provide customers with a real competitive choice for long-distance service, as well as offer bundled services and the convenience of a single bill.
The decisions by the Nebraska PSC address the 14 federal checklist items and additional items which Qwest must demonstrate it has complied with in order to re-enter the long-distance business.
Decisions have now been issued in Nebraska 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.
Qwest has also completed a comprehensive operational support systems (OSS) test in Arizona, as well as in 13 of its western states. The recent release of the draft final report in the 13-state test signals the end of the most thorough systems and performance test ever conducted. The release of the final report in late May will allow Qwest to begin filing applications with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for approval to sell long-distance services in 13 states. Qwest expects to receive approval within 90 days of filing each application with the FCC.
In other recent actions, the Nebraska PSC made final decisions on prices to be charged to wholesale customers, as well as the independent audit report for reconciliation of performance data requirements.
A recently-released study, the "Binz Report," documents customer benefits once Qwest re-enters the long-distance business. Ron Binz, a telecommunications industry analyst and well-known consumer advocate, finds that Qwest has sharply improved retail and wholesale service quality and has acted more aggressively to open its markets to competitors than other incumbent phone companies. The report concludes that policy makers should move quickly to endorse Qwest's long distance entry once legal and technical requirements are met.
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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