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On March 26, 2000 Network World magazine ran an article titled "Qwest Confirms Talks With 'Major' Telco." That major company was USWest and on July 1, 2000 the acquisition was complete. This merger symbolizes the pace of today's telecom industry. The merger also affects UMD.

The Duluth, Twin Cities, and Crookston campuses have all been using Qwest as their long distance vendor for more than a year. In 1984, Judge Green deregulated the telco industry and made it illegal for Local Exchange Companies (LEC) like USWest, Bell Atlantic, Southwestern Bell, etc. to provide long distance services. This meant that Qwest, now a LEC, had to divest itself of its long distance interests.

Thus, UMD had to find a new vendor for its long distance telephone services. Our new vendor is Touch America. At some point in the next few months faculty and staff will get new Touch America calling cards to replace their Qwest cards. Details of the swap have not been ironed out at this time. In the meantime, continue using your Qwest calling cards and don't be surprised if some of the recorded messages refer to Touch America instead of Qwest.

For more information on the Qwest/USWest merger visit their website.

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