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
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.