Qwest to Offer DirecTV

Qwest Communications International Inc. has a new direct-broadcast satellite partner.

Following the decision by EchoStar Communications Corp.’s Dish Network not to expand its marketing agreement with Qwest last month, the regional Bell operating company announced Thursday that it has reached a deal to offer DirecTV Inc. DBS service to residential customers across the western United States.

Beginning in the first quarter of 2005, Qwest will market and provide front-line customer support for the DBS service and incorporate it into its full suite of bundled communications services.

DirecTV and Qwest are also developing a plan to market Qwest's digital-subscriber-line services to existing DirecTV customers, and the two companies inked a separate agreement under which Qwest will provide DirecTV service to apartments and other multiple-dwelling units.

"Our partnership with DirecTV gives customers one point of contact for all of their programming needs, including installation, billing and customer service," Qwest chairman and CEO Richard C. Notebaert said in a prepared statement.

DirecTV CEO Mitch Stern added, “With Qwest providing another avenue of distribution for DirecTV in the marketplace, more consumers will see that there is a superior alternative to their local cable provider.”