Let's make a broadband deal. Qwest Communications International Inc. and Microsoft Corp. are upping the ante in the broadband war by extending their long-standing partnership.
Qwest will provide a fiber-optic broadband network for the MSN Broadband Internet access service. Under the terms of the "long-term" contract, MSN will be the first nationwide user of the Qwest Broadband Access Aggregation System. The BAAS is designed to consolidate customers' Internet traffic from various DSL providers across the United States onto Qwest's broadband network, Qwest said in a statement.
The goal is to deliver the MSN high-speed service to 40 million U.S. households. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The two companies began working together in 1998 to deliver Web-based solutions to business customers. Last year, Qwest and Microsoft announced a five-year strategic alliance to combine the MSN Internet service and content with Qwest's DSL network throughout the ILEC's 14-state region. MSN agreed to purchase broadband capacity from Qwest, including billing and collections services, for its MSN High Speed program. Qwest also agreed to spend more than $100 million over the next five years to advertise its services on the MSN network.
The extended deal provides Qwest ammunition to fight its cable counterparts and MSN ammunition to fight the nation's biggest ISP, America Online.