DENVER, May 3, 2001 - Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q), today condemned AT&T?s efforts to forcibly evict local service competitors from the AT&T building in Davenport. Qwest put AT&T on notice that it will take every step necessary to assure local service providers will be allowed to use an AT&T-owned facility in Davenport, Iowa.
?This is predictable,? said Steve Davis, Qwest senior vice president for policy & law. ?AT&T is always the first to accuse others of anti-competitive behavior, then they revert to their monopolistic roots and try to eliminate their competitors.?
At issue is the Davenport central office that has been shared by AT&T and Qwest since the Baby Bells were split up in 1984. AT&T owns the building and Qwest holds a lease on space in the building until 2003. Qwest uses the space to provide service to its own Iowa consumers and also sub-leases space to seven competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs). These companies, including Iowa-based McLeod USA, compete with each other to bring consumers the benefits of competition ? lower prices and better customer service.
Despite a mandate contained in the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996, which requires Qwest to provide space to competitors, AT&T is demanding the forced eviction of the seven companies when Qwest?s lease runs out. This, in Qwest?s view, is designed to destroy the existing competitive choices in eastern Iowa, precluding Qwest from fulfilling Congress? mandate that communications networks be opened to competition for the benefit of consumers.
Qwest is acting in response to an AT&T letter in which AT&T demanded, ?at the end of the term of the Qwest lease, AT&T fully expects all Qwest?s collocation vendors to vacate the premises. Subleasing will no longer be tolerated.?
Qwest sent a response to AT&T on Thursday, in which Qwest Iowa vice president Max Phillips called AT&T?s actions, ?so egregious, so destructive of competitive choice, so contrary to the intent of Congress to foster free and open competition, and so stunningly arbitrary that we are left to wonder how to proceed further.?
Phillips? letter went on to say that unless AT&T reconsidered its position, Qwest would have no choice but to ?commence proceedings in condemnation to secure the necessary rights to continue to meet our local service obligations to our customers and our ILEC obligations to our competitors.?
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