Qwest finishes construction of eastern Oregon self-healing fiber ring

December 19, 2002--Qwest Communications International Inc. announced yesterday that the self-healing fiber ring connecting eastern Oregon communities served by Qwest is now complete and fully operational.

Qwest Communications International Inc. announced yesterday that the self-healing fiber ring connecting eastern Oregon communities served by Qwest is now complete and fully operational.

"Qwest is building a unique network in Oregon which will make ours one of the most wired states in the country when the entire project is finished," contends Judy Peppler, Qwest president, Oregon.

The eastern Oregon ring is the third of five fiber rings currently under construction in the state of Oregon. The self-healing fiber ring allows voice and data traffic to be instantly rerouted in the event of a service interruption, ensuring that no information is lost and that the connection remains intact, explain company representatives.

With the completion of the ring, all voice and data traffic in the area moved onto the Qwest fiber ring, ensuring that Qwest-served eastern Oregon customers will experience route diversity and telecommunications service redundancy. Qwest completed construction of a southern Oregon self-healing ring in July 2002 and a central Oregon self-healing ring in November 2002.

"The completion of the eastern Oregon fiber loop is a cause for celebration," adds State Senator David Nelson. "We now have a telecommunications infrastructure in place creating route diversity that links us to areas outside of our region. This is a big step forward in ensuring that eastern Oregon has the technology in place to enhance further economic development."

Qwest's support of the projects is a result of Senate Bill 622, passed by the Oregon Legislature in 1999. The bill established a fund in 1999 that made financial support available to applying communities showing a need for increased bandwidth, route diversity, and access to advanced telecommunications services for their residents.

Qwest provided roughly $70 million for infrastructure improvements in exchange for freedom from traditional rate-of-return regulation. As a result, nearly every Qwest central office will be equipped to offer DSL, bringing high-speed Internet access to both urban and rural areas of the state. Many communities around the state also will receive high-speed data switches with voice mail technology. The new technology, including the completion of three additional fiber rings (for a total of five), will be operational statewide within the next 12 months.

As part of the legislative agreement, Qwest also provided $50 million for high-speed Internet connections to Oregon schools and two-way video connections for every Oregon high school, both inside and outside of Qwest territory. Every school was wired and every high school received its two-way video equipment before the end of 2001.

For more information about Qwest Communications International Inc., visit the company's Web site at www.qwest.com.


More in Earnings Statements