The Association of U S West Retirees



Qwest plans cybercenter in Albuquerque
The Associated Press
Denver Post
Saturday, August 2, 2008

SANTA FE Some funds for a planned $40 million Qwest Communications cybercenter in Albuquerque can count toward state-mandated service improvements, the state Public Regulation Commission said.  The commission ruled Thursday that Qwest could count $7.8 million worth of investments in the planned data center toward $255 million in infrastructure improvements required under a 2-year-old agreement between the Denver company and the state.

The center will allow Qwest's corporate customers to store computer equipment and backup data in a secure, controlled environment with direct hookups to major communications backbones, the Albuquerque Journal reported in a copyright story Friday.

Opponents which included the state's Department of Information Technology, the PRC's own telecommunications staff and an existing data center argued the cybercenter would do nothing to improve telephone or Internet service for most of Qwest's customers.  Furthermore, they questioned why Qwest didn't want to spend any of its own money outside of the promised investment on the first stages of the project.

When Qwest made its request last month, Qwest asked to count $10 million the entirety of its expected initial investment in the cybercenter toward improvements.

Commission Chairman Jason Marks said the project straddled "the borderline between what we did and did not envision" in creating the agreement.

But, he said, the project would help anchor Qwest in the state, potentially attract some of its customers here, and could help spur further development.

The final agreement with Qwest will also include a provision that if Qwest discontinues the cybercenter project within five years, the funds will be used for service improvements.

Opponents still could appeal the ruling.