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Qwest sues MCI over access fees
By Jeff Smith
Rocky Mountain News
Friday, January 13, 2006

Qwest Communications has sued MCI for allegedly failing to pay at least $10 million of access charges related to using the Denver telco's local network facilities to complete long-distance phone calls.  The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Denver this week came just days after MCI and Verizon Communications completed their landmark merger.  Qwest was the spurned suitor in that deal.

Qwest said in the lawsuit that the calls in question began at least by 2002 but that it didn't have the technological capability until late 2003 to know that MCI had failed to pay the access charges.

Qwest said in the lawsuit that it determined that the signaling information on many calls placed by MCI customers was altered by "someone other than Qwest" to make it appear that the calls were local rather than long distance.  Those calls were delivered improperly to Qwest facilities designed to carry local phone traffic to their destination.

The calls occurred throughout Qwest's 14-state local phone region, the company said.

Verizon Business spokeswoman Carolyn Tyler said the lawsuit filed by Qwest is "completely devoid of specific factual allegations and therefore impossible to formulate a substantive response.  To the extent any allegation can be inferred from the complaint, it appears that this is a routine tariff disagreement between the parties that has been the subject of prior negotiations but did not lead to a settlement."

Qwest spokesman Robert Toevs said the company doesn't comment on pending litigation.