WASHINGTON, DC, June 27, 2007 - Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) today announced a proposal that would expand the nation's access to high-speed Internet service, while initiating reform of the massive federal telecommunications subsidy known as the Universal Service Fund (USF).
In its proposal to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Qwest recommended the creation of a program managed by state public utilities commissions for deploying broadband services to Americans in rural areas who lack access to those services today.
"It's been widely acknowledged that every American needs access to broadband but that goal still has not been achieved," said Steve Davis, Qwest senior vice president of public policy. "Qwest's proposal provides meaningful strides toward the day when high-speed Internet services are available at reasonable prices to all Americans."
Under the proposal, funding for widespread broadband deployment would come from cost savings realized by a change in the wireless telephone subsidy formula to a per-household basis rather than per-user, which is the current practice. The new formula would reduce the cost of that portion of the USF, which currently is $1 billion, by $500 million annually.
"Qwest is proposing a workable, common-sense solution to reform the USF to reduce waste and redirect outdated subsidies," Davis said.
The USF is funded by a surcharge on the bill of every U.S. customer that uses telecommunications services. The surcharge was recently set at nearly 12 percent of the total cost of those services the customer uses.
Qwest offers a unique and powerful combination of managed voice and data solutions for businesses, government agencies and consumers - locally and throughout the country. Customers coast to coast are turning to Qwest's industry-leading national fiber optic network and its Spirit of Service for quality products and superior customer experience. Qwest is a participant in Networx, the largest communications services contract in the world, to provide leading-edge voice, data and video services. For more information on Qwest, and its various operating subsidiaries, please go to www.qwest.com. For information about the products and services Qwest is offering in the Networx contract, visit www.gsanetworx.com.
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