Freed from regulatory constraints stemming from its merger with U.S. West in 2000, Qwest Communications is now offering a full suite of business-class IP services in the 14 Western states where the carrier offers local telephone service.Qwest already offered dedicated Internet access, dial-up, VPN and Web hosting services to corporate customers elsewhere. But as of December 2003, Qwest has been offering one-stop shopping for these IP services to companies nationwide."From a customer facing perspective, we'll be able to bundle and consolidate and creatively offer wide-area network services such as VPNs and IP-enabled frame relay a little more fluidly and effectively," says Martin Capurro, senior director of global data and IP product management for Qwest Communications. "There will be some announcements coming out about this soon."Behind the scenes, Qwest has integrated its regional network with its nationwide backbone so that "the two networks are one network," Capurro says.This should be a boon to companies in the 14 Western states where Qwest provides local voice and\/or data services to more than 70% of the businesses. The companies in this region can now take advantage of Qwest's nationwide OC192 network, which operates at 10G bit\/sec and serves every major city in the U.S.Qwest owns and operates its own facilities-based IP network across the U.S. as well as in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore. Qwest offers IP services in 24 other countries through third-party providers.The service provider suffered a blow back in 2002, when its European venture KPN Qwest filed for bankruptcy. Now Qwest's primary partner for Europe is British Telecom (see links below for more on BT).Qwest operates the fourth-largest IP backbone network in the world, according to the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA). Qwest officials expect the company's IP backbone network to continue growing as it pursues new opportunities in the 14 Western states."Until recently, we had a little bit of a hole in the 14-state region," Capurro says. "We have a great opportunity to grow now that we can sell our IP services everywhere."Now that Qwest can offer the same IP services to businesses nationwide, the carrier plans to simplify its product catalogue and marketing message. Qwest's goal is to streamline the number of technologies and pricing schemes that it offers."The announcements we have planned for 2004 have a whole lot less to do with the latest technology...and a lot more to do with how we can help the customer manage their network and their WAN services smarter," Capurro says.