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Qwest brings fast Net to business

The telecom provider announces it will provide high-speed dedicated Internet access to businesses nationwide.

Telecom provider Qwest Communications (QWST) announced today that it will provide high-speed dedicated Internet access to businesses nationwide, the latest bid in this booming market.

As reported yesterday, the company said it plans to offer private access lines at speeds of 1.544, 45, and 155 mbps, and later increase speeds to 2.1 gbps. Service will be offered in 23 cities this year and will expand to 125 cities by the middle of next year. The development comes as a result of the company's buyout of SuperNet last year, part of a rapid expansion plan.

The first cities to have Qwest's high-speed access will be Denver; Indianapolis; Kansas City, Missouri; Salt Lake City; Los Angeles; Sacramento; San Francisco; San Jose, California; and Santa Barbara, California

"There is great demand in the marketplace for high-speed Internet services, and this lets us give customers what they need," said Joseph Nacchio, chief executive of Qwest, in a statement.

The company, which went public last year, is one of a growing number of firms that are providing advanced communications services to take on the likes of AT&T, MCI Communications, WorldCom, and Sprint. Many of these executives come from the giant telcos--in Nacchio's case, AT&T.

Earlier this month, a group of former executives at MFS Communications (now owned by WorldCom) said they would build their own Internet network. That company is called Level 3 Communications.

Qwest has been on an expansion binge. As reported earlier this month, the company said it would provide fiber-optic services to AGIS and take a 20 percent equity stake in the nation's fourth-largest backbone provider.

Qwest's backers include Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz, who has made his fortune in the oil, railroad, and real-estate businesses.