MINNEAPOLIS, May 22, 2001 ? Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q), the broadband Internet communications company, today announced an innovative program to significantly expand its high-speed Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Internet connection coverage area in Minnesota and 10 other Western states where it provides local phone service. The program will add approximately 1.3 million additional DSL-capable homes and businesses in these states by the end of 2001, and up to 1.2 million next year, bringing the total number of DSL-capable customers to more than 6 million by the end of 2002.
The states slated for expansion are Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Qwest has already deployed DSL service in 74 markets where it provides local telephone service, including eight communities in North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. Qwest also provides DSL service to businesses through its local broadband operations in an additional 20 markets across the U.S. Capital for the DSL expansion program was planned for 2001 and no increase in earlier-announced spending is required.
In Minnesota, Qwest will provide DSL capability this year to an additional 132,000 homes and businesses located in metropolitan Minneapolis/St. Paul and Duluth. ?Qwest?s DSL expansion plan in Minnesota is designed to meet the needs of a very sophisticated market. Qwest already provides more than 50,000 customers with DSL service in the state and today?s announcement is the latest in a series of investments we?re making locally to provide Minnesotans with the best customer service and widest array of products,? said John Stanoch, Qwest state vice president for Minnesota.
Qwest also plans to introduce DSL service in Austin, Cloquet, Elk River, Faribault, Forest Lake, Northfield, Owatonna, Red Wing and Shakopee. DSL is currently offered to many residential and business customers in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Stillwater, Rochester, St. Cloud and Duluth.
The new, innovative program is designed to expand coverage significantly in Qwest?s major metropolitan markets and some smaller communities, in addition to introducing Qwest DSL in communities that do not yet have high-speed Internet access. The expansion, which is now under way, is phased throughout the two-year period. Qwest is proactively notifying customers when DSL service becomes available in their area.
At the same time Qwest is expanding its retail DSL service capability, it is also making its underlying network available to competitive local service providers who want to offer competing services.
?Our customers tell us that they want Qwest DSL?s, high speed, ?always-on? capability and popular self-installation option,? said James A. Smith, executive vice president of Qwest?s national consumer markets. ?With this expansion initiative, many more people, whether at home or in their businesses, can take advantage of DSL?s efficiency and convenience.?
This program represents a significant step in Qwest achieving its goal of 500,000 DSL customers by the end of 2001. At the end of first quarter, Qwest reported more than 306,000 DSL customers.
Qwest is expanding its DSL program as it prepares to re-enter the long distance business in about one year in the local service region. Decisions about other markets where DSL service will be provided or expanded will be based on where the company may most effectively deliver a combination of long distance and broadband Internet communications. Qwest also is exploring ways to work in partnership with smaller, rural areas to provide DSL service.
Qwest has taken several important steps in preparing for expansion of its DSL coverage area. The company recently installed technology that allows DSL equipment to be placed in local telephone network centers and closer to customer homes and businesses, enabling Qwest to provide up to 60 percent more customers with high-speed, broadband Internet access by the end of 2002. The technology, referred to as a remote terminal, provides customers with the same telephone line quality and speed as those serviced directly from a central office. Qwest has committed to make space available in these remote locations for competitors.
?Currently, only customers within about three miles of a neighborhood central office are able to access DSL services,? said Augie Cruciotti, executive vice president of Qwest local markets. ?Remote terminals will enable us to more than double that distance, making it possible for more of our customers to receive DSL service.?
In addition to the DSL expansion, Qwest is also focused on improving its service offerings. In October of 2000, Qwest launched a new suite of DSL services for small businesses called Professional DSL, which offers speeds up to 7Mbps, in addition to service level agreements and 24 x 7 technical support.
Through the end of June, Qwest is offering new residential DSL customers 30 days of free service, waived activation fees, and free DSL modems. External DSL modems for small businesses and multi-computer networking also are available at a special promotional price. Later this summer, Qwest DSL service will be sold in a bundle of service with MSN content from Microsoft for broadband and narrowband customers.
For more information about DSL from Qwest, please call 1-800-244-1111 (residential customers) or 1-800-603-6000 (small business customers).
Note to Editors: For access to a graphic that illustrates how the remote terminal technology works and photos of a recent installation, please visit our online pressroom at www.qwest.com. In addition, B-roll is available at the following times and coordinates: 10:30 a.m. ? 11:00 a.m. EDT, C-Band: Telstar 5/Transponder 16/Audio 6.2 & 6.8 and 1:30 p.m. ? 2:00 p.m. EDT, C-Band: Telstar 6/Transponder 8/Audio 6.2 & 6.8.
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® 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.
This release may contain projections and other 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 Securities and Exchange Commission, 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, volatility of Qwest's stock price, intense competition in the communications services market, changes in demand for Qwest's 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, rapid and significant changes in technology and markets, adverse changes in the regulatory or legislative environment affecting Qwest's business and delays in Qwest's ability to provide interLATA services within its 14-state local service territory, failure to maintain rights of way, and failure to achieve the projected synergies and financial results expected to result from the acquisition of U S WEST timely or at all and difficulties in combining the operations of Qwest and U S WEST. 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.
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