A massive one-off tax benefit of USD2.15 billion has helped US wireline carrier Qwest Communications to post third-quarter net earnings of USD2.046 billion, up from USD246 million a year ago. But the tax gain masks what would have been a fairly quiet quarter, with revenues falling 1.5% year-on-year to USD3.434 billion and the number of residential access lines down 7.2% to 13.03 million. Internet services showed an improvement though, with revenues from that sector up 9.6% and the number of broadband internet subscribers increasing by 111,000 over the quarter to reach 2.52 million. The penetration of multi-service bundles was also up, from 56% to 61%.
Separately, Qwest has announced plans to invest USD300 million over the next two years to upgrade its networks with fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) technology, allowing it to offer download speeds of up to 20Mbps to around 1.5 million customers.