While fellow Baby Bells are booming in broadband, the digital-subscriber-line
business for struggling Qwest Communications International Inc. is running at a
decidedly low speed.
The Denver-based telco managed to attract just 10,000 new DSL customers for
the fourth quarter of 2002, bringing its total-subscriber count to 535,000. For
the year, Qwest added 87,000 new DSL subscribers, compared with the 192,000 new
adds it attracted in 2001.
By comparison, fellow Baby Bell BellSouth Corp. added 401,000 new DSL lines
Overall, Qwest managed to post a $2.7 billion profit in the fourth quarter,
but that was only because of a one-time $2.75 billion revenue gain from the
first phase of its QwestDex phone-directory sell-off.
Revenue overall dropped for the quarter, totaling $3.7 billion compared with
$4.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2001.
For the full year, Qwest recorded an operating loss of $18.2 billion,
compared with $1.3 billion in 2001.
On the more positive side, the company did managed to cut its weighty debt
from $25 billion to $20.4 billion with the QwestDex sale and a debt exchange
that lightened the load by $1.9 billion.
The outlook for the company remains grim in 2003, with revenue expected to
once again decrease.
But the company does expect DSL business to provide one of its rare growth
areas. In an earnings conference call, CEO Richard Notebaert said Qwest will put
$75 million into a project to expand its DSL footprint by about 20