Wash. State Delays DSL Decision

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Seattle -- The Washington State Utilities and
Transportation Commission has deferred until April 22 a decision on U S West
Communications' request to launch a high-speed Internet-access service.

Delaying the process were concerns by staff members and the
Washington Association of Internet-Service Providers that USWC would channel consumers
with rival ISPs that can't handle asymmetrical digital subscriber lines to its own
ISP business.

The commission staff wants USWC to provide consumers with a
list of ISPs that are capable of handling ADSL technology, while USWC has indicated that
it wants the right to cross-promote its two businesses.

Another concern was giving other ISPs enough time to get
USWC's ADSL service up and running before it is launched. Otherwise, the telco's
Internet business would be the only one ready to go when consumers begin calling for ADSL
service, Sweeney said.

If USWC's request is approved April 22, the company
plans to roll out the service the next day. Plans call for ADSL service to be launched
initially in Tacoma, Seattle, Auburn, Des Moines, Federal Way, Kent, Olympia, Puyallup and
Renton.

"The main concern is that U S West would get
preferential treatment in promoting an alternative ISP," said commission spokesman
Tim Sweeney.

ADSL can handle both voice and data simultaneously,
allowing consumers to use the same high-speed line to cruise the Internet and talk on the
telephone.

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