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A Qwest Internet outage in Utah and Colorado crippled some businesses for more than three hours Friday, including The Salt Lake Tribune and its website.

Qwest spokesman Mark Molzen said about 80 businesses in Salt Lake City were affected by the outage to "varying degrees." Some businesses also were affected in parts of Colorado.

"It ranged from slowdowns to outages," Molzen said.

The outage occurred about 1 p.m. when a Qwest computer card failed, Molzen said. The Internet connections to the businesses were restored about 4:10 p.m. when the equipment was replaced, he said. He didn't know at which Qwest location the equipment failure took place.

Some information- technology officials whose businesses suffered the outage were told by Qwest technical support representatives that the problem apparently involved the failure of an IP switch, which acts as a gateway directing data traffic to different customers.

Molzen didn't know which businesses were affected by the outage.

Salt Lake City police and fire did not experience the failure even though their bandwidth is provided by Qwest; similarly, Salt Lake County emergency services were not affected.

While the outage did not completely shut down The Tribune website,, it caused the pages to download slowly.