PHOENIX, November 19, 2001 ? Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE:Q), the broadband communications company, moved a critical step closer to offering Arizona customers a real choice in long-distance service when the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) unanimously approved Qwest?s compliance with three more of the 14 federally mandated checklist items established by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
?The commission?s decision is a major step forward in our effort to offer customers a competitive choice in long-distance,? 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.?
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.
Additionally, a report by Consumer Action, an independent consumer non-profit, found that long-distance rates are increasing everywhere except in states where the local exchange carrier has been approved to offer competitive long-distance services. The study found that rates actually decreased in these states.
Today?s Commission action certifies Qwest has satisfied the checklist requirements regarding emerging services; unbundled local transport; and unbundled local switching. The ACC has already issued its recommendations finding compliance with checklist items referring to access to 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; and resale. Additional certifications on other checklist requirements are expected through December and early January. The Telecommunication Act of 1996 established the 14 checklist items.
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 113,000 miles globally. For more information, please visit the Qwest Web site at www.qwest.com.
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