BISMARCK, N.D., September 21, 2001 ? Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE:Q), the broadband communications company, has moved another important step closer to re-entering the long-distance business in North Dakota when the North Dakota Public Service Commission (PSC) concluded that Qwest has met six of the 14 checklist items necessary for the company?s re-entry into the long-distance business.
?We are pleased with this decision,? said Scott Macintosh, Qwest vice president, North Dakota. ?It demonstrates we are moving closer to the day when long-distance competition in North Dakota brings consumers better service and lower prices.?
A study by Professor Jerry A. Hausman, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Telecommunications Economics Research Program, found that North Dakotans could save more than $17 million annually in local and long-distance charges once Qwest is allowed to re-enter the long-distance market. After Qwest is approved to re-enter the long-distance business, the company will be able to provide customers with another competitive choice for long-distance service, as well as offer bundled services and the convenience of a single bill.
In his concurring opinion to the PSC order, Commissioner Tony Clark credited both the PSC staff and the comprehensive multi-state workshop process for the thoroughness of the review. ?I want to thank the Public Service Commission staff who have dedicated countless hours to this project. Their work, in conjunction with the multi-state collaborative, is ensuring a comprehensive review, ? said Clark.
?Qwest should be commended for substantially acceding to the facilitator's recommended changes. Good faith actions by all parties help to ensure that North Dakotans will gain the benefit of competition in both the local and long-distance markets,? said Clark.
The commission?s order confirmed that Qwest is now in compliance with the following 14-point checklist items: poles, ducts, conduits and rights-of-way; 911, directory assistance and operator services; white page directory listings; number portability: number administration; and dialing parity and data bases and associated signaling. The eight remaining checklist items are currently being reviewed by the PSC through the multi-state workshop process. Additional rulings on those items are expected later this year.
When Qwest acquired U S WEST, the company had to divest itself of its long- distance holdings in the 14 western states where U S WEST provided 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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