PHOENIX, March 22, 2001 ? Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE:Q), the broadband Internet communications company, said today it was pleased that its two-year-old Arizona rate case has been resolved by the Arizona Corporation Commission.
?We are pleased that we can now turn our full attention to the market place and prepare to re-enter the long-distance business,? said Teresa Wahlert, Qwest Vice President?Arizona. ?All customers will certainly benefit from those efforts. The real winners are our customers who will have access to a host of new product and service packages.?
The plan ? supported by the Department of Defense, the Arizona Payphone Association, the Communications Workers of America as well as the staff of the Arizona Corporation Commission ? includes numerous consumer benefits. It caps basic business and residential rates so they cannot increase for the three-year life of the proposal. It also decreases access charges ? the fees long-distance providers pay Qwest to access the local communications network ? by $5 million each year of the plan, totaling $15 million. In addition, more than 160,000 homes in the Valley ? 40,000 outside ? will benefit from a $13.8 million rate decrease.
Speaking specifically of the $15 million access charge reduction, Wahlert urged long-distance companies to pass those savings on to consumers. ?It is our hope that our competitors like AT&T will now pass along the savings we are offering them to their own customers. We will just have to wait and see if that happens.?
Current rates were set in January of 1995 following a rate case that was filed in July of 1993. The innovative new agreement establishes three basic categories ? or baskets ? for services. Basket One contains those services deemed non-competitive by the Arizona Corporation Commission such as basic telephone service. Basket Two contains services for wholesale customers. Basket Three contains services that the Commission deems to be competitive ? such as Directory Assistance.
All new Basket Three services require commission review and approval of new tariff filings. The plan also provides customers credits if Qwest fails to maintain specific standards in its Service Quality Plan.
Wahlert said, ?Lowered access charges, continuing accountability standards, lowered installation charges, all add up to a good deal for Arizonans. The commissioners are to be commended for helping us move Arizona forward and allowing Qwest to continue improving service, fulfilling the needs of customers, and positioning ourselves for entry into the long-distance market.?
Wahlert said the plan?s approval continues and strengthens Qwest?s commitment to Arizona and its investment in the state. For the past few years, Qwest has been investing approximately $2 million a day in Arizona.
The State of Arizona recently awarded Qwest a $100 million contract to construct and support high-speed local area broadband networks, providing Internet access to Arizona?s 228 public school districts, giving students the opportunity to learn school lessons through the Internet. And earlier this month, Qwest announced it would provide network services to the Phoenix Arena Development Limited Partnership, the organization that manages Bank One Ballpark and America West Arena, among other city attractions. In a separate agreement, Qwest will be provisioning bandwidth for the Arizona Department of Economic Security. Combined, the deals are worth $12.4 million.
Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) is a leader in reliable, scalable and secure broadband Internet-based 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 106,000 miles globally. For more information, please visit the Qwest web site at www.qwest.com.
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