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Qwest Agrees to Pay Fine of $6.5 Million

May 08, 2003|From Associated Press

Qwest Communications International Inc. has agreed to pay the government $6.5 million for offering long-distance data services without regulatory approval, the largest such fine in Federal Communications Commission history.

The violations involved Qwest's leases of so-called dark fiber optic lines that other companies activated, and private lines used by cable and Internet companies, the FCC said. As part of its 2000 merger with US West, Qwest was prohibited from offering such long-distance services in its 14-state territory in the West and Midwest.

In the consent decree accepted by the FCC, Qwest said some of the transactions were the result of record keeping and administrative errors.

Denver-based Qwest now has FCC approval to sell long-distance in 12 of the 14 states where it provides local phone service. Qwest shares fell 32 cents to $4.11on the New York Stock Exchange.

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