PHOENIX, March 8, 2002 - Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE:Q) the broadband communications company, moved closer to offering Arizona customers a real choice in long-distance service when the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) approved Qwest's compliance with three more of the 14 federally mandated checklist items established by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. A total of 12 checklist items have been satisfied. Additional recommendations on the final two checklist requirements are expected soon.
"We believe we are now on a schedule that will allow Qwest to file its application with the FCC in late April and to begin providing significant savings to Arizona customers this summer," said Teresa Wahlert, Qwest regional vice president and vice president of policy and law for Arizona. "Qwest's long-distance re-entry will mean more than $189 million in savings to Arizona customers, which will be a big boost to the state's economy, and local competition will be energized as well."
A study by Professor Jerry A. Hausman, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Telecommunications Economics Research Program, found that Arizona residents could save up to $189 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, 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.
This commission action certifies Qwest has satisfied the checklist requirements regarding access to unbundled network elements and number portability. Last week, the commission certified interconnection and collocation. The ACC has already issued recommendations confirming Qwest has satisfied the following federally mandated 14-point checklist items: poles, ducts and rights of way; 911, directory assistance and operator services; white page directory listings; number assignment; signaling and databases; dialing parity; reciprocal compensation; resale; emerging services; unbundled local transport; and unbundled local switching.
Additionally, on December 21, 2001 Qwest completed a critical and comprehensive systems test in Arizona and certification on the remaining checklist requirements is expected in the near future.
A report by Consumer Action, an independent consumer non-profit organization, found that long-distance rates are increasing everywhere except in states where the local telephone provider has been approved to offer competitive long-distance services, such as Texas and New York. The study found that consumers in these states were offered rates for basic service plans that were up to 66 percent lower than the big long-distance companies' plans.
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(r) 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.
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 Communications International Inc. (together with its affiliates, "Qwest", "we" or "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: potential fluctuations in quarterly results; volatility of Qwest's stock price; intense competition in the markets in which we compete; changes in demand for our products and services; the duration and extent of the current economic downturn, including its effect on our customers and suppliers; adverse economic conditions in the markets served by us or by companies in which we have substantial investments; 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 our business, delays in our ability to provide interLATA services within our 14-state local service area; 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, and difficulties in combining the operations of the combined company. This release may include analysts' estimates and other information prepared by third parties for which we assume no responsibility. We undertake 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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