Qwest to launch area DSL service

Qwest Communications will deploy high-speed DSL Internet service to Craig in the coming months as part of a phased, $75 million investment expanding services across the company's 14-state region.

Service availability is targeted for July in Craig, Rifle and Glenwood Springs, according to Qwest's deployment timetable published on the company's Web site.

But Edie Ortega, Qwest's district manager for Northern Colorado, was hesitant to commit to that month, indicating that DSL equipment would be installed at the company's central office in Craig "sometime this summer."

"We'll notify customers through mail when it's available," Ortega said.

Service orders will only be taken when that hook-up is finished, she said.

Prices for residential or business customers will vary.

"It generally runs $40 (per month) depending on the level of service and speed of DSL," Ortega said.

Those fees would not cover an added $15 to $40 for Internet access provider services, which are offered by third-party firms, such as MSN, Earthlink or Amigo.net.

Qwest's deployment comes as Meeker's NC Telecom continues to execute contracts with numerous Yampa Valley entities for high-speed Internet services funded for three years by state grant dollars.

Ortega suggested the timing of Qwest's move isn't related.

"This really is a company-wide initiative across 14 states," she said. "It's a response to customer demand for faster Internet, and obviously others are out there doing the same thing."

Avon, Fruita, Gunnison, Snowmass, Telluride, Breckenridge and Parachute also are included in Qwest's DSL expansion, which will continue through the third quarter of this year, according to the company's Web site.

"You can expect additional communities, we just haven't identified those yet," Ortega said of further Western Slope expansion.

DSL allows users to access the Internet at speeds up to 125 times faster than traditional dial-up connections.

Paul Shockley can be reached at 824-7031 or at pshockley@craigdailypress.com

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