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FCC's high-speed data ruling could benefit Qwest
By Jeff Smith
Rocky Mountain News
Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Analysts expect Qwest Communications to seek relief from regulations on high-speed data services in wake of a Verizon victory on the issue.  The Federal Communications Commission this week exempted Verizon from being required to give competitors access to its non-Internet, high-capacity data networks for resale. AT&T said Tuesday it would file a similar request to the FCC.

Donna Jaegers, a telecommunications analyst at Janco Partners in Greenwood Village, said she expects Qwest, which operates a nationwide fiber-optic network, also will seek a level playing field with Verizon.

"It's important," Jaegers said of the regulatory relief.  "It will give (Qwest) more flexibility to compete for the very large customers."

That would include corporations, universities and government agencies.

Qwest said it was still examining the implications of the FCC-Verizon action.

"The bottom line is we're still looking at how this affects us and what our next move is," said Qwest spokesman Skip Thurman.

FCC said Verizon should be able to continue building high-speed data networks without undue regulation.

But competitive providers that rely on access to the networks are expected to appeal the decision.

Jaegers said at issue are high-capacity lines of more than 45 megabits a second.  "So this is the really, really big bandwidth, like the fiber link between a corporate headquarters and its storage area network" where back-up data records are kept.

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