DUBUQUE, IA, May 7, 2001 ? Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE:Q), the broadband Internet communications company, announced today that it has installed and activated a new digital switch in Dubuque, making Qwest?s central office switches in Iowa entirely digital. Completion of Qwest?s switch upgrade from analog to digital is part of Qwest?s ongoing effort to expand and improve Iowa?s voice and data communications network.
?We?re delighted to bring the latest technology to Iowa,? said Max Phillips, Qwest vice president for Iowa. ?Completion of this statewide upgrade is just one more example of Qwest?s commitment to invest in Iowa and provide our customers with reliable service.?
Digital switches are significantly faster, more efficient and more reliable than the analog switches they have replaced. After investing a total of $20 million statewide this year for the more advanced digital switches, Qwest now has additional capacity to accommodate future growth and introduce new services throughout its Iowa service territory.
The digital switch was activated over the weekend and will benefit more than 25,000 residents in Dubuque and surrounding communities. The conversion was executed during low-volume calling periods so it would not disrupt service or 911 calls.
In a separate issue in Iowa, Qwest condemned AT&T's efforts to forcibly evict local service competitors from the AT&T building in Davenport. Qwest put AT&T on notice last week that it will take every step necessary to assure local service providers will be allowed to use an AT&T-owned facility in Davenport, Iowa.
At issue is the Davenport central office that has been shared by AT&T and Qwest since the Baby Bells were split up in 1984. AT&T owns the building and Qwest holds a lease on space in the building until 2003. Qwest uses the space to provide service to its own Iowa consumers and also sub-leases space to seven competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs). These companies, including Iowa-based McLeod USA, compete witheach other to bring consumers the benefits of competition - lower prices and better customer service.
Despite a mandate contained in the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996, which requires Qwest to provide space to competitors, AT&T is demanding the forced eviction of the seven companies when Qwest's lease runs out. This, in Qwest's view, is resigned to destroy the existing competitive choices in eastern Iowa, precluding Qwest from fulfilling Congress' mandate that communications networks be opened to competition for the benefit of consumers.
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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