Qwest Opposing Tauzin-Dingell Provision

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A House bill designed to promote the rollout of broadband services by the
four Baby Bell phone companies includes a provision that is a major concern for
at least one Baby Bell.

Lauren 'Pete' Belvin, vice president of Qwest Communications International
Inc., said Tuesday that the company opposes a provision that would require phone
companies to upgrade all of their central offices with digital-subscriber-line
technology within five years.

At a conference hosted by Schwab Washington Research Group in Washington,
D.C., Belvin called the build-out requirement a 'backbreaker' that would reduce
the company's ability to expand into markets outside of the Baby Bell's 14-state

Belvin said the provision was particularly onerous for Qwest, which she
described as having some of the most rural areas in the country within its vast
home-service territory.

The House bill (H.R. 1542) -- a controversial measure sponsored by Reps.
Billy Tauzin (R-La.) and John Dingell (D-Mich.) -- is awaiting consideration by
the full House.

In the Senate, Commerce Committee chairman Ernest (Fritz) Hollings (R-S.C.)
has indicated little interest in advancing the legislation.