The Association of U S West Retirees



Qwest’s payroll in region nearly $30M


Billings Gazette

Gazette Staff

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Qwest employs 180 people in Montana and has a payroll of $14.5 million. In Wyoming, the company has 190 employees and pays nearly $15 million in payroll. Customer numbers were not released.

The merger should be good news for Qwest customers in Montana, according to Geoff Feiss, general manager of the Montana Telecommunications Association in Helena.

“CenturyTel has a record of strong investment in broadband deployment, and I believe that tradition is likely to continue under this merger,” Feiss said.

Qwest serves major cities in Montana, along with Seattle; Minneapolis; Phoenix; Boise, Idaho; Portland, Ore.; and Spokane, Wash.

In 2000, Qwest agreed to give up its long-distance business in 14 states to satisfy a federal antitrust condition in order to buy the former US West. Qwest later received permission to re-enter those markets.

Three years later, Touch America, the communications company that evolved from Montana Power Co., lost a legal dispute with Qwest. Touch America had paid more than $200 million in 2000 for Qwest’s long-distance telephone business in 14 Western states.

Touch America declared bankruptcy and, in 2003, a Delaware bankruptcy judge approved the sale of Touch America’s assets to 360Networks for $43 million.