Denver, April 10, 2001 ? Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE:Q), the broadband Internet communications company, today announced that it has achieved two significant milestones in its efforts to reenter the long-distance business in 14 Western states. First, region-wide independent testing of Qwest?s operational support systems (OSS) begins today. In addition, the company has completed three-quarters of the state workshop sessions that evaluate Qwest?s compliance with rules to reenter the long-distance business. Both the OSS testing and the state workshops are scheduled to be completed this summer.
?We?re coming down the home stretch in our effort to get back into the long-distance business in our 14 state local-service territory,? said Steve Davis, Qwest senior vice president for policy and law. ?The completion of these workshops and the beginning of the final phase of OSS testing means that Qwest is on schedule to file with the Federal Communication Commission late this summer for approval to offer long-distance service in at least one of our states.?
Qwest and regulators in 13 of the14 states where Qwest provides local service are pursuing an innovative and first-of-its-kind regional approach to OSS testing. During the test, which is scheduled to be completed in July, tens of thousands of transactions will be monitored to test the functions and performance of Qwest?s OSS. The independent company administering the tests will evaluate Qwest?s performance based on hundreds of measures, which have been agreed to by competitors, consumer advocates, state regulatory commissions and their staffs, competitive telecom associations, the test administrator and Qwest.
?This is where the rubber meets the road,? said Montana Public Service Commissioner Bob Rowe, who heads up the thirteen state collaborative that is coordinating the test. "For 18 months we've been engaged in the largest and most open process of its kind. We've seen a new attitude from Qwest since it took over the system. Just as important, I'm impressed by the commitment of Qwest and its competitors to reach a good result for competition and for customers throughout the West."
At the same time as the OSS test planning process was underway, Qwest, competitors and commission staffs participated in separate state and regional 271 workshops to determine Qwest?s compliance with checklist items. These open, collaborative workshops are run by regulators and are designed to address the needs of competitors, resolve disputes between competitors and Qwest, and ensure Qwest?s local markets are open to competitors. To date, 37 of 50 of these workshops have been completed.
?We?re now three-quarters of the way though the workshops and we expect to have them completed by mid-summer,? said Davis. ?When the workshops and the OSS testing are completed, customers, commissions and competitors will be assured of what we already know ? that there are no competitive barriers in our region.?
Operational support systems are the computers, processes and systems that facilitate such things as installation, repair and billing ? the systems a communications company and its employees use to provide service to customers. Regulators believe that it is essential for local service competition that competitors have the same access to these systems as local service providers. Qwest has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to allow competitors? access to its internal systems.
Thirteen of Qwest?s 14 local service states are participating in the region-wide OSS testing process. The Arizona Corporation Commission is conducting its own test of Qwest?s OSS systems and has selected Cap Gemini Ernst and Young as the test administrator. Testing in Arizona, which began in December, is also scheduled to be completed in July.
For the region-wide OSS test, KPMG will serve as the test administrator and Hewlett Packard Consulting will play the role of a newly established competitive local exchange carrier. Liberty Consulting will audit the process to ensure compliance with the definitions for all wholesale performance measurements.
Qwest intends to file its first application with the FCC this summer to reenter the long-distance business in one of the states in its local service area and to file applications for other states later this year and early next year. After the first application is filed, the multi-state testing process is expected to allow Qwest to accelerate its filing of and the FCC?s approval of the applications for the remaining states. Unlike Qwest?s region-wide approach, other local telephone companies are following a state-by-state approach to OSS testing.
?We will not be the first company to get approval to offer long-distance services in one of our states, but we expect to be the first company to have approvals to offer long-distance service throughout our entire region,? said Davis.
With Qwest?s progress toward reentering the regional long-distance business and opening its markets to competitors, the company announced a new wholesale customer service center in Omaha. The center is the first in Qwest?s region to focus exclusively on ensuring a smooth transition for customers from Qwest?s network to a competitor?s and even between competitors.
The center, which will have 75 employees, will allow Qwest to efficiently manage access to facilities and functions for competitors who collocate their equipment in Qwest?s offices. ?This center is just one more way to meet the needs of our wholesale customers,? added Davis.
There will be an audio webcast of a 1:00 pm EDT call for media hosted by Steve Davis. To access the webcast go to http://www.videonewswire.com/QWEST/041001.
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(r) 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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