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Qwest to appeal $36 million in penalties

The Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — Qwest Communications is going to court to fight $36 million in penalties imposed by the state for anticompetitive behavior in Minnesota’s local phone market.

The company filed the appeal in U.S. District Court here Thursday, Qwest Minnesota President John Stanoch said.

Qwest wants the court to put on hold the punishments ordered by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission while the case is tried, which could take up to a year, Qwest senior attorney Jason Topp said.

Stanoch said Qwest believes the appeal should have no bearing on a decision by the Federal Communications Commission expected next Thursday on whether Qwest can sell interstate long-distance service in Minnesota. He said they’re separate issues.

Denver-based Qwest has won FCC permission to sell long-distance service in 12 of 14 states it serves since December and it hopes for similar approval for Minnesota and Arizona.