Having lost the battle for MCI to Verizon, Businessweek says that the future for Qwest might be very cloudy, and it would need a lot of juggling by the its 57-year-old CEO Dick Notebaert to revive the sinking fortunes of the company, which has to clean up its act, and get rid of the $17.3 billion in debt. Options include going after XO Communications and Time Warner Telecom, and become the third option for the business market. “They don’t have any clear exit plans or alternatives,” Timothy Gilbert, a telecom analyst at Principal Financial Group, tells Business Week and adds, “They become less and less relevant in the telecom universe.” I don’t think the situation is as dire as most make it out to be. First of all the fiber optic network that is supposedly a noose around their neck is going to be a very useful asset in coming months and years. As IPTV and other digital content starts to zip across the networks, they are going to fill-up plenty fast. Even their rivals – SBC and Verizon would need that capacity. They can partner with cable companies, who will need a way to reach corporate customers. And then there is an option of slowly building up the local business by buying strategic assets such as Sprint’s wireline business.