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Qwest in $100 Million Network Deal With CAIS

Qwest Communications International Inc. and Internet service provider CAIS Internet entered into a 10-year, $100 million agreement under which Qwest will provide CAIS with leased and routed IP bandwidth on the domestic Qwest Macro Capacity Fiber Network.

The companies said the agreement will extend CAIS's Internet network from five to 130 cities across the country, and aid in the firm's launch of CAIS OverVoice technology to hotels, apartment buildings, and other multi-dwelling complexes.

CAIS is owned by the holding company CGX Communications, located in McLean, VA, and is also the parent of OverVoice and Cleartel Communications units.

OverVoice is designed to enable existing telephone wiring to transmit voice traffic and high-speed Internet access at the same time, providing Internet access at 10 megabits per second while placing and receiving calls simultaneously.

CAIS said this technology is the first to employ the Ethernet standard that is also used in personal computer Local Area Networks (LANs). In March, CAIS launched field trials across the country with Microsoft and ATCOM/INFO.

Qwest said it aims to support more than 130 cities with its national 18,449 mile network, roughly 80% of the data and voice traffic transmitted in the U.S., according to the company. Currently 8,500 miles are activated, and the entire network is slated for completion by the second quarter of 1999.

Qwest said it also plans to expand the network an additional 1,400 miles providing connectivity into Mexico. This segment should be finished later this year, and will also have transatlantic capacity to serve Europe.

"Qwest's IP-based Macro Capacity Fiber Network delivers to ISPs the quality of service, speed and reliability they demand," said Joseph P. Nacchio, president and CEO of Qwest. "We are pleased to be working with CAIS Internet in providing capacity for delivery of state-of-the-art data, multimedia and voice services to its customers."

"We expect OverVoice deployment to grow exponentially over the next 8-12 months as a result of agreements with Microsoft, ATCOM/INFO, OnePoint Communications, and marketing and sales efforts with other organizations," said Ulysses G. Auger II, CEO of CGX Communications.