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Qwest to spend $265 million in settlement
By Associated Press
Rocky Mountain News
Thursday, July 27, 2006

SANTA FE - Qwest Communications will invest $265 million in telecommunications upgrades and school computers under a proposed settlement negotiated by New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's administration and Attorney General Patricia Madrid.  The deal -- intended to resolve a dispute over a 2001 agreement in which Denver-based Qwest was to invest almost $800 million in New Mexico projects -- must be approved by the Public Regulation Commission.

Qwest officials joined Richardson and Madrid on Wednesday in announcing the proposed settlement.  Company officials said they will ask the PRC to quickly endorse the deal.

The PRC has found that Qwest had an investment shortfall of $220 million in the 2001 agreement, which was granted in exchange for giving Qwest an alternate form of regulation.  Last month, the state Supreme Court ruled that state regulators have the power to enforce the 2001 contract.

Under the proposal, Qwest must spend $245 million over 42 months to expand access to high-speed Internet hookups and replace cables with fiber-optic lines.

The company also must provide $15 million over three years to schools for a computer-based instructional program that targets seventh- and eighth-graders who are at risk of dropping out of school.

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/tech/article/0,2777,DRMN_23910_4873100,00.html