Officials with Qwest Communications are asking federal regulators for the go-ahead to offer long-distance service in Iowa as well as the local service the phone company now provides. V-P Steve Davis says utility regulators in Iowa and four other states have cleared the way for the move. State regulators in Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska and North Dakota review the company’s request, and found no sticking points. Davis says customers in those five states stand to save more than 350-million dollars a year because of increased competition. Davis says Qwest had to allow competition in the local-service arena to get this chance to jump into the long-distance arena. Davis says Qwest has already opened its network to local-service competitors and shared facilities and operating systems that let another company offer service as high-quality as Qwest’s.He says the company’s already lost ground in the local-service arena to companies like Iowa’s McLeod. Davis is vice-president for policy and law for the company that serves 14 midwestern and mountain states. Davis says they’re asking the Federal Communications Commission to add its blessing to the approval they got from utility boards in Iowa and four other states.He commended regulators in the states for handling the complex issues in phone service and competition. Davis says Qwest already has one of the country’s largest phone networks in place, and is ready to go when federal regulators give their approval, which he thinks could be by September. Davis adds the company will file for the long-distance okay in nine other states this summer and fall and hopes to offer them all long-distance service by the end of the year.
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