Denver, April 7, 1999 ? Qwest Communications International Inc. announced today that it has secured a multiyear agreement for performance-class digital subscriber line (DSL) connectivity in 31 major metropolitan markets through a $15 million strategic investment in Rhythms NetConnections Inc. In addition, Rhythms has agreed to provide space to Qwest in their local facilities for colocation of call processing equipment and to use Qwest as its preferred web hosting provider. Rhythms provides high-speed networking solutions for remote access to private networks and the Internet.
By the end of 1999, Qwest plans to offer high-speed access to business customers in major markets including Austin, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, Portland and San Jose.
The agreement is part of Qwest's strategy to offer end-to-end high-speed connectivity to customers in key metropolitan U.S. markets to better support broadband and Internet-based communication services. In recent weeks, Qwest has announced plans to offer high-speed local connectivity in more than 35 markets, reaching 50 percent of U.S. businesses.
"In order for Qwest to drive the creation and adoption of bandwidth-enabled applications and network management services ? a market that analysts predict will exceed $100 billion in the next five years ? we must be able to offer customers a last-mile high-speed connectivity solution," said Joseph P. Nacchio, Qwest chairman and chief executive officer. "Our agreement with Rhythms gives us additional coverage and capacity that we need to further support the expansion of our local connectivity strategy."
In January Qwest reached an agreement with Covad Communications Group, Inc. to provide DSL services in 22 markets. The Covad and Rhythms agreements will provide Qwest with market overlap and multiple connection points in key U.S. cities and the necessary bandwidth at the local level to improve customer connections between their homes and offices to the Qwest network.
Aside from DSL connectivity, Qwest is also in the process of assembling 19 metropolitan area networks in major U.S. cities that will allow large businesses to directly connect to the Qwest network.
Qwest Communications International Inc. (Nasdaq: QWST) is a leader in reliable and secure broadband Internet-based data, voice and image communications for businesses and consumers. Headquartered in Denver, Qwest has more than 8,000 employees and 80 sales offices in North America, Europe and Mexico. The Qwest Macro Capacity (SM) Fiber Network, designed with the newest optical networking, will span more than 18,500 route miles in the United States when it is completed by mid-1999, and the additional 315-mile network route recently announced will be complete by the end of the year. In addition, Qwest and KPN, the Dutch telecommunications company, are forming a venture to build and operate a high-capacity European fiber optic, Internet Protocol-based network that has 2,100 miles and will span 9,100 miles when it is completed in 2001. Qwest also has nearly completed a 1,400-mile network in Mexico.
This release may contain 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 with the SEC, 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 potential fluctuations in quarterly results, dependence on new product development, rapid technological and market change, failure to complete the network on schedule and on budget, financial risk management and future growth subject to risks, Qwest's ability to achieve Year 2000 compliance, and adverse changes in the regulatory or legislative environment. Qwest undertakes 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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