DENVER, January 30, 2003 - Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE:Q) today offered a breakthrough proposal in resolving competitive issues pending at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Demonstrating the company?s Spirit of Service, and commitment to work with state and federal agencies to generate solutions that benefit customers, Qwest filed an unbundled switching proposal with the FCC. The proposal facilitates the shift from Unbundled Network Element Platform (UNE-P) resale to facilities based competition.
The company?s proposal has the support of two prominent state regulatory commissioners in Qwest?s local service area - Oregon Public Utilities Commissioner Joan Smith and Montana Public Service Commission Chairman Bob Rowe.
"I support Qwest?s effort to propose a framework for transitioning unbundled switching from the list of required unbundled network elements," said Smith and Rowe in a joint statement. "The two-part proposal relies on the expertise of state commissions to assist in the process. This proposal is a major step in the right direction and is a meaningful compromise."
The proposal eliminates the unbundled switching requirement in areas where multiple competitors, or Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs), have deployed their own switches. It also establishes a role for state regulatory commissions to determine the transition timetable for eliminating unbundled switching as a UNE in all other remaining areas.
"This fair proposal is easily applied and is based on a conservative assessment of in-place competitive switching," said Steve Davis, Qwest senior vice president of public policy. "In creating this compromise solution, we recognized the desire of the state commissions and the FCC to consider alternative, workable approaches."
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires companies like Qwest to provide access to unbundled network elements. Qwest offers CLECs unbundled access to portions of its network - loop, transport and switches, and access to signaling databases for call routing and completion. Because so many CLECs have deployed their own switches, it is no longer necessary to offer unbundled switching.
Under the two-part proposal, the FCC would remove unbundled switching from the UNE list where CLECs have a significant deployment of owned switches. Specifically, where there are three or more CLEC switches within a geographic area known as a LATA, the switching requirement would be removed promptly. In LATAs where there are fewer than three such switches, the state commissions, interpreting the guidelines established by the FCC, would look at additional factors to determine reasonable timetables to remove switching.
State commissions will have the responsibility to monitor unbundled switching within a well known industry framework ? the same state approved process that measures incumbent carrier wholesale performance.
Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) is a leading provider of voice, video and data services to more than 25 million customers. The company?s 53,000-plus employees are committed to the ?Spirit of Service? and providing world-class services that exceed customers? expectations for quality, value and reliability. 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 us 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 but not limited to: the duration and extent of the current economic downturn in our 14-state local service area, including its effect on our customers and suppliers; the effects of our anticipated restatement of historical financial statements including delays in or restrictions on our ability to access the capital markets or other adverse effects to our business and financial position; our substantial indebtedness, and our inability to complete any efforts to de-lever our balance sheet through asset sales or other transactions; any adverse outcome of the SEC's current investigation into our accounting policies, practices and procedures; any adverse outcome of the current investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office in Denver into certain matters relating to us; adverse results of increased review and scrutiny by Congress, regulatory authorities, media and others (including any internal analyses) of financial reporting issues and practices or otherwise; the failure of our chief executive and chief financial officers to provide certain certifications relating to certain public filings; rapid and significant changes in technology and markets; any adverse developments in commercial disputes or legal proceedings, including any adverse outcome of current or future legal proceedings related to matters that are the subject of governmental investigations, and, to the extent not covered by insurance, if any, our inability to satisfy any resulting obligations from funds available to us, if any; our future ability to provide interLATA services within our 14-state local service area; potential fluctuations in quarterly results; volatility of our stock price; intense competition in the markets in which we compete, including the likelihood of certain of our competitors emerging from bankruptcy court protection or otherwise reorganizing their capital structure and competing effectively against us; changes in demand for our 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; adverse changes in the regulatory or legislative environment affecting our business; and changes in the outcome of future events from the assumed outcome included in our significant accounting policies.
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