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Qwest makes foray into Salt Lake cable
By Beth Potter, Staff Writer
Denver Post
Friday, November 18, 2005


Days after Comcast threw the first punch by rolling out Internet-based telephone service in Denver, Qwest is striking back with a plan to offer cable TV in Salt Lake City, where Comcast already provides the service.

Qwest, which is based in Denver, already offers digital TV service and cable in at least one Utah city.  A cable franchise in the capital would allow the telephone company to expand and offer more features to customers, such as caller ID on TV screens, said Carey Madsen, a Qwest spokeswoman.

"We've found time and again that being able to combine your TV service with your Internet service into one package is compelling to customers," Madsen said.  "We see TV as being the crux of the decision-making."

Qwest would offer cable service through a wholly owned subsidiary, Qwest Broadband Services, with an estimated 175 channels, including local stations that carry programming such as Utah Jazz basketball games, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

To offer new cable-TV service, Qwest may need to lay fiber-optic cable in neighborhoods currently under construction, Madsen said.  She declined to say how much would be spent on the project.

Cable and telephone companies are scrambling to offer as many services as they can to consumers as the two markets move closer together, said Phil Weiser, a telecommunications expert at the University of Colorado.

"In Denver, the cable companies are going into telephone service, so it's pushing the telephone companies into cable service," Weiser said.  "Unfortunately, the cable companies have a head start over the telephone companies."

A Comcast spokeswoman in Colorado said the increased competition in Salt Lake City is welcome.

"It's important for consumers to have a choice, and that everyone plays by the same rules," said Cindy Parsons, a Comcast spokeswoman in Denver.

Staff writer Beth Potter can be reached at 303-820-1503 or bpotter@denverpost.com.


http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_3228836