Idaho Public Utilities Commission Misses Key Opportunity to Reform State's Outdated Regulations

BOISE, October 20, 2003 - Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) today expressed disappointment in the Idaho Public Utilities Commission?s (IPUC) decision to maintain monopoly era regulation of local wireline telephone service in Qwest?s seven major Idaho markets.

Ten months ago, Qwest applied to the IPUC for the same pricing and marketing freedoms as its non-regulated competitors for residential and small business consumers in Boise, Meridian, Caldwell, Nampa, Twin Falls, Pocatello, and Idaho Falls. Qwest?s application to the IPUC presented extensive evidence that cellular telephone service in each of the seven areas provides direct competition to Qwest?s traditional wireline local telephone service.

?It?s puzzling that anyone would deny that cellular service competes with traditional wireline service,? said Jim Schmit, president of Qwest in Idaho. ?We?re frustrated and disappointed because we believe that government regulation should not be based on the type of technology used, but rather on the service provided. From a customer?s perspective, they serve the same function. With over a half-million cell phones in Idaho, and a declining number of wirelines, the numbers speak for themselves.?

Based on Idaho law that dates back ninety years (1913), the IPUC regulates Qwest?s wireline telephone service to residential and small business customers. The cellular providers, however, have no price regulation or oversight by the IPUC.

?The Public Utilities Commission missed an opportunity to benefit Idaho consumers,? said Doug Lincoln, senior marketing professor, Boise State University. ?Allowing both cellular and wireline providers the same opportunity to serve customers would provide much more efficient and effective consumer protection than this decision to continue government regulation.? Lincoln has conducted extensive market research on the effects of cellular service competing with wireline service in Idaho.

Qwest is evaluating the IPUC?s order and considering its options to reduce outdated regulation, thereby improving its ability to serve and respond to customers.

The type of flexibility sought by Qwest in this application would not be new to Idaho. Fifteen years ago (1988), the Idaho Legislature was a national leader in recognizing the changing telecommunications landscape and removed pricing and marketing restrictions for Qwest services to large business customers and virtually all other consumer services such as in-state long distance, caller ID and call waiting. These changes have facilitated increased investment and improved service levels. Qwest?s application would have simply extended that same marketing and pricing flexibility to basic wireline telephone service.

About Qwest

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 47, 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

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