(Qwest Communications International Inc., Denver, CO, www.qwest.com) A telecommunications company that offers services to telecom carriers, businesses and homes using an extensive fiber-optic network throughout the U.S. and Mexico. It started out in 1988 as the SP Construction subsidiary of Southern Pacific Railroad, laying fiber optic cables for other carriers along railroad right-of-ways. In 1991, it became SP Telecom, a subsidiary of Anschutz Corporation (Philip Anschutz owned Southern Pacific).
In the mid-1990s, SP Telecom acquired Qwest Transmission, Inc., a digital microwave carrier and subsequently changed its name. It also began leasing fiber to carriers and has been upgrading its network ever since. In early 1998, it introduced retail long distance service in selected cities at 7.5 cents per minute.
In 2000, Qwest took a giant leap forward in size and service by acquiring Denver-based U S WEST, one of the original regional Bell operating companies that served 14 states throughout the western U.S. Qwest claims its network bandwidth is greater than AT&T, WorldCom and Sprint combined. See Nacchio's law