Qwest Extends Public Sector Contract

Under a contract extension, Qwest will continue to run the backbone network connecting Montana’s 530 government and university facilities. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The deal to power the statewide network, called SummitNet II, was originally signed in 2000.

The system supports integrated voice, data and video communications and has enough bandwidth to handle e-government and multi-location Web conferencing.

Denver-based Qwest said investments made into the network could also support private sector customers.

“The expanding SummitNet infrastructure will spur the introduction of new technologies, such as high-speed DSL Internet for businesses and consumers, to areas throughout the state,” said Clifford Holtz, a Qwest executive vice president.

State officials said they were pleased with Qwest’s performance. They also noted that the extension included more flexible terms.

“The contract extension also includes changes that allow the state more flexibility regarding use of other carriers when that is the best option outside Qwest serving areas,” said Tony Herbert, Montana’s deputy CIO.

The Montana deal comes after several similar contracts with public sector customers. For example, Qwest is handling the networks for public schools, colleges and universities and in Texas and Utah.

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