Qwest Snaps Up Network Assets

To shore up its network and improve service for business customers, Denver telecom Qwest will purchase assets from Touch America and 360networks.

The deals include: equipment from Touch America to support hundreds of frame relay and asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) customers, and high-speed fiber network routes between cities in the Midwest and West.

Touch America filed for bankruptcy protection in June and later agreed to sell a good portion of its assets to 360networks.

Financial terms were not disclosed, however a published report said Qwest paid $1 million for Touch America’s frame relay and ATM assets. The sales are expected to be finalized by year’s end.

A Qwest spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.

Qwest had a contentious relationship with Touch America, taking a disagreement over customers and billing to arbitration. Touch America lost that case.

Qwest said the agreement resolves all outstanding disputes between it and Touch America and 360networks regarding these assets. 360networks has committed to supporting customers’ moves from Touch America to Qwest or another provider.

The buys are Qwest’s second move this month to boost sales to businesses. Earlier, it announced that it had formed a division to strengthen ties with systems integrators.

The aim is to use specialists that already have relationships with large businesses and government agencies to get Qwest’s voice and high-speed data services before more potential buyers.

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