DENVER -- Qwest Communications International Inc. (Nasdaq: QWST) today announced plans to increase the coverage of its high-capacity fiber optic network from 13,000 miles to over 16,000 miles by building additional major routes in the Southeastern states, California and Texas. It will provide high-speed bandwidth for voice and data communication, and superior SONET reliability to 23 additional cities located in California, Florida, Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Louisiana. The network expansion will bring the Qwest Network coverage to 115 cities representing 75% of the originating and terminating long distance traffic in the United States.. The Qwest network continues to grow nationally and internationally. Last week Qwest announced the expansion of its network into Mexico. Today's announced Southeastern expansion will provide Qwest with further opportunities to grow internationally. The network's new Southeastern routes will give Qwest connectivity to the International Cable gateways in Florida, enabling the company to better serve Latin and South America. The expansion of the Qwest Network in California will provide Silicon Valley firms additional capacity for current and upcoming bandwidth-intensive applications, including Internet services. The California expansion will also include an additional SONET ring in the network. This self-healing system adds even more security and reliability to the network by allowing instantaneous rerouting in the event of a fiber cut. This architecture will virtually eliminate network downtime for Qwest Network customers. "We are extremely pleased with our progress to date and our ability to now expand the Qwest Network," said Joseph P. Nacchio, president and CEO of Qwest. "With this expansion, the rapidly growing Southeastern and California markets will be able to take advantage of the Qwest Network, and we will be able to directly connect to the important cables serving Latin and South America." The cost of the new network expansion will total approximately $375 Million. Qwest is also announcing four dark fiber contracts with major telecommunications providers totaling $89.4 Million. By supplying firms needing additional fiber capacity, Qwest is able to reduce the net expense of this expansion thus sustaining its low cost position. Qwest currently anticipates that funding for the balance of the cost will be provided by additional dark fiber sales and, if required, the incurrence of additional indebtedness. One major telecommunications service provider has already committed to acquire 24 dark fibers along the routes from Charlotte through Florida and back to Atlanta. This company will pay $70.6 million for the dark fiber acquisition. In addition, Qwest has signed three dark fiber customers for portions of the California central valley route whose aggregate payments to Qwest will be approximately $18.8 Million. Qwest is currently negotiating with several other prospective dark fiber customers for both routes. The new network expansion will be constructed primarily on highly secure railroad rights-of-way, thereby offering voice and data users a further degree of reliability over networks using other construction techniques. The Qwest Network expansion is planned to reach the following cities:

  • Mobile, AL
  • Bakersfield, CA
  • Burbank, CA
  • Fresno, CA
  • Modesto, CA
  • Stockton, CA
  • Albany, GA
  • Augusta, GA
  • Savannah, GA
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Daytona Beach, FL
  • Melbourne, FL
  • West Palm Beach, FL
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Miami, FL
  • Tampa, FL
  • Gainesville, FL
  • Orlando, FL
  • Tallahassee, FL
  • Pensacola, FL
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Columbia, SC
  • Beaumont, TX

About Qwest

Qwest Communications International, Inc. (Nasdaq: QWST) is a multimedia communications company building a high-capacity, fiber optic network for the 21st century. Qwest's planned domestic network will connect 125 cities, which represent approximately 80 percent of the data and voice traffic originating in the United States, upon its completion in the second quarter of 1999. Qwest is also extending its network 1,400 miles into Mexico with completion slated for late third quarter 1998. With its cutting-edge technology, Qwest will deliver high-quality voice, data and video connectivity securely and reliably to businesses, consumers and other communications service providers.


Contact Information
Media Contact
Diane Reberger
303-992-1662
diane.reberger@qwest.com
   
Outside Contacts:
Qwest Media Contact
Erin McKelvey
(303) 615-5070
emckelve@alexander-pr.com