DENVER, August 22, 2001 - Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE:Q), the broadband communications company, has moved a critical step closer to re-entering the long-distance business and offering Colorado consumers a real choice in long-distance service. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CoPUC) issued decisions on two workshops that confirmed Qwest is meeting regulatory requirements necessary for re-entry into the long-distance business.
?We are pleased to have received these decisions,? said Kevin Smith, Qwest?s Colorado vice president. ?It reflects a lot of work on the part of the Colorado Commission and it demonstrates we are moving closer to proving Qwest has opened its local markets to competitors.?
The decisions by the CoPUC addresses five of the 14 checklist items Qwest must demonstrate it has complied with in order to re-enter the long-distance business in Colorado. These decisions relate to non-discriminatory access to unbundled network elements (including transport and switching), interconnection, collocation and resale based on terms and conditions that are just and reasonable. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 established the 14 checklist items.
The orders address two of the seven public workshops that have been conducted by the CoPUC to address the needs of competitors, resolve disputes between competitors and Qwest, and ensure that Qwest?s local markets are open to competitors. A decision on the first workshop was issued in June, addressing seven checklist items. Qwest expects to receive rulings later this year on the remaining workshops.
A study by Professor Jerry A. Hausman, Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Telecommunications Economics Research Program, found that Coloradoans could save more than $200 million annually in local and long-distance charges once Qwest is allowed to re-enter the long-distance market.
Smith said that after Qwest is approved, 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.
When Qwest merged with U S WEST, the company had to divest itself of its long- distance holdings in the 14 western states where it provides local service. Under the Telecommunications Act, Qwest can re-enter the long-distance business when it satisfies a 14-point federal checklist for each state.
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