Qwest Under Scrutiny

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Qwest Communications is trying to head off criticism that allegedly secret deals with competitors undermined its bid to deliver long-distance service to local customers in the West.

Qwest notified the Federal Communications Commission this week that it will ask for approval of each and every deal with competitors in four states where long-distance applications are pending. In addition, Qwest will post the contracts on its Web site
and will extend the terms of those deals to any competitor. Qwest spokesman Steve Davis says the company is taking the broadest stance it can.

Several states raised questions earlier this year about whether Qwest bought silence about its treatment of certain competitors by cutting special deals with them for access to Qwest's local networks. An investigation remains under way in Minnesota.