US West Communications Inc. plans to sell nearly 450 rural telephone exchanges within the next year.
US West is shedding the exchanges so it can refocus resources in urban and high-growth areas, such as Denver, Seattle, Aspen and Jackson Hole, Wyo. The long-range plan, expected to be completed in 1996, already has generated about $608 million from the sale of 192 exchanges.
The plan worries residents of US West states, who are concerned about rates, service quality and whether they will have access to the information superhighway.
The independents promise their service will match, if not surpass, that of US West.