ALBUQUERQUE, September 3, 2002 - Qwest Communications International, Inc. (NYSE: Q) today issued a report on its investments in New Mexico as part of the Alternative Form of Regulation (AFOR) plan approved by the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) March 8, 2001 that shows that customers and the state are benefiting from Qwest?s significant network upgrades and improved service.
"Just two years ago New Mexico was ranked as one of the least ?wired? states in the country, but, today the economic development community in this state can tout the Qwest network as a great economic development asset," said John Badal, Qwest vice president of policy and law for New Mexico.
The AFOR requires Qwest to invest a minimum of $788 million over the 5-year term of the plan, equating to $156.7 million per year. As of June 30, 2002, Qwest has invested $285.7 million.
Over the past two years, Qwest has upgraded and expanded its fiber optic transport facilities in much of its local service area. Additionally, Qwest has upgraded many of its digital switching equipment to accommodate traffic growth, and introduced new services, such as Digital Subscriber Line (DSL). Qwest?s investment in new digital switching equipment has allowed for growth in nearly every exchange served by Qwest and has enabled the location of several call centers in small towns throughout New Mexico.
The increase in the capacity of the network has aided business growth throughout the state. New Mexico had one of the highest increases in business telephone line growth in Qwest's 14-state region in the first year of the AFOR, and Qwest was able to accommodate this growth due to the extraordinary network investments.
As a part of its investment commitments, Qwest has agreed to specific levels of service quality standards. Qwest has met its commitment to reduce designed services delayed orders as well as its obligation to provision primary and regular services and designed services in every wire center in every month, its trouble report obligation in every wire center in every month, its obligation to repair out-of-service trouble in a timely manner in every month, and its commitment for repeat trouble reports in every month.
In addition to the benefits of improved customer service, Qwest?s investment will enable state government to build its New Mexico Multi-Agency Network (MAGnet) atop much of the Qwest infrastructure rather than having the state build its own network, which would have cost taxpayers billions of dollars.
MAGnet was designed to allow the State of New Mexico to consolidate all public sector communications requirements, including voice, video and data services, from multiple networks into a single network. It will provide increased broadband capacity to the state, local government, schools, and clinics in 24 communities and will enable applications such as distance-learning and telemedicine applications, while reducing administrative and maintenance costs to taxpayers.
In a recent report on the readiness of states to compete for information-based growth, the Progressive Policy Institute places New Mexico 48th in the country in the state's government office connectivity to the Internet and other data systems. "MAGnet will sharply improve our state's ranking," Badal said. "Our investment in New Mexico?s telecommunications infrastructure benefits our state's economic outlook."
Under the terms of the AFOR plan, Qwest reduced its residential rates from $16.16 to $10.66. The PRC granted Qwest approval to increase its residential rate from $10.66 to $12.25, effective September 3rd, because it has demonstrated substantial compliance with the investment commitment and achieved other service related benchmarks required by the AFOR plan.
Badal said the Qwest investments are proof that Qwest is committed to improving service in Qwest?s service area, and that real progress is being made in expanding services to rural areas.
Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) is a leading provider of voice, video and data services to more than 25 million customers. The company?s 55,000 employees are committed to the "spirit of service" and providing world-class services that exceed customers? expectations for quality, value and reliability. For more information, please visit the Qwest Web site at www.qwest.com.
This release may contain projections and other forward-looking statements that involve assumptions, risks and uncertainties. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these statements, which speak only as of the date of this release. These statements may differ materially from actual future events or results. Readers are referred to the documents filed by Qwest Communications International Inc. (together with its affiliates, ?Qwest?, ?we? or ?us?) with the Securities and Exchange Commission (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 but not limited to: the duration and extent of the current economic downturn in our 14-state local service area, including its effect on our customers and suppliers; the effects of our anticipated restatement of historical financial statements including delays in or restrictions on our ability to access the capital markets or other adverse effects to our business and financial position; our substantial indebtedness, and out inability to restructure our $3.4 billion credit facility prior to failing to comply with financial covenants contained therein or any inability to complete efforts de-lever our balance sheets through asset sales of other transactions; any adverse outcome of the SEC?s current inquiries into Qwest?s accounting policies, practices and procedures; any adverse outcome of the current investigation by the U.S. Attorney?s office in Denver into certain matters relating to us; adverse results of increased review and scrutiny by Congress, regulatory authorities, media and others (including any internal analyses) of financial reporting issues and practices or otherwise; the failure of our chief executive and chief financial officers to provide certain certifications relating to certain public filings; rapid and significant changes in technology and markets; failure to achieve the projected synergies and financial results expected to result from the acquisition of U S WEST, and difficulties in combining the operations of the combined company; our future ability to provide interLATA services within our 14-state local service area; potential fluctuations in quarterly results; volatility of Qwest?s stock price; intense competition in the markets in which we compete; changes in demand for our products and services; dependence on new product development and acceleration of the deployment of advanced new services, such as broadband data, wireless and video services, which could require substantial expenditure of financial and other resources in excess of contemplated levels; higher than anticipated employee levels, capital expenditures and operating expenses; adverse changes in the regulatory or legislative environment affecting our business; adverse developments in commercial disputes or legal proceedings; and changes in the outcome of future events from the assumed outcome included by Qwest in its significant accounting policies. The information contained in this release is a statement of Qwest?s present intention, belief or expectation and is based upon, among other things, the existing regulatory environment, industry conditions, market conditions and prices, the economy in general and Qwest?s assumptions. Qwest may change its intention, belief or expectation, at any time and without notice, based upon any changes in such factors, in Qwest?s assumptions or otherwise. The cautionary statements contained or referred to in this release should be considered in connection with any subsequent written or oral forward looking statements that Qwest or persons acting on its behalf may issue. This release may include analysts? estimates and other information prepared by third parties for which Qwest assumes no responsibility. 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.The Qwest logo is a registered trademark of, and CyberCenter is a service mark of, Qwest Communications International Inc. in the U.S. and certain other countries.
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