PORTLAND, Ore., April 30, 2001 ? Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE:Q), today reached agreement with Oregon cities regarding payment of franchise fees while the case is being considered on appeal. Qwest has agreed to pay the fees during the appeals process, and the cities have promised to return them to customers and Qwest, if the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturns the Oregon court?s decision and declares the fees unlawful.
?We are very pleased with this win-win agreement with the cities,? stated Judy Peppler, Qwest Oregon vice president for policy and law. ?Qwest will quickly deliver the payments and the cities have promised to repay us and our customers if we should win on appeal.?
In July of 2001, Qwest and the City of Portland, along with other Oregon cities, agreed to go to federal court to settle an issue regarding unauthorized franchise fees. On Friday, March 22, Magistrate Jelderks of the US District Court of Oregon issued a written decision stating that he believes the Telecom Act of 1996 does not preclude cities from charging a revenue-based fee. Qwest strongly believes that the Magistrate?s ruling is in direct conflict with the Ninth Circuit?s April 2001 ruling that found a city can no longer charge its citizens a fee that is greater than its cost of monitoring Qwest?s installation and maintenance of communications facilities in the public right-of-way. All right-of-way fees charges must be cost based. Numerous Oregon cities have been charging telecommunications companies fees that are above and beyond cost resulting in Qwest?s collection of these fees from residential and business customers.
Qwest will make payments to the cities within 14 days of Magistrate Jelderks entering his final judgment in the case, expected near the end of April. Qwest also will file an appeal of Jelderks decision to the Ninth Circuit Court, and expects the decision to be reversed since even Jelderks recognized that it is in conflict with the landmark ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court in Qwest v. Auburn. While the appeal is pending, Qwest will continue to collect franchise fees from its customers and make the regularly scheduled payments to Oregon cities.
Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) is a leader in reliable, scalable and secure broadband 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 190,000 miles globally. For more information, please visit the Qwest Web site at www.qwest.com.
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