Qwest Communications ( Q) is seeking a buyer for its long-distance network that carries calls and Internet traffic for other phone carriers, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the matter.

A sale, which could raise between $2 billion to $3 billion, largely would leave Denver-based Qwest as a regional provider of telephone and Internet services to consumers, according to the Journal.

The unit also provides advanced telecom services to businesses and government agencies.

The Journal reports potential bidders include companies with similar networks, such as Qwest's larger rivals, AT&T ( T) and Verizon ( VZ), and smaller players like Level 3 Communications ( LVLT) and TW Telecom.

While a sale of the business would help Qwest pare its nearly $14 billion in debt, finding a buyer could be difficult, the newspaper reports. Telecom companies are trying to preserve cash and credit is difficult to obtain. Qwest has a market value of about $6.5 billion.

A spokesman declined to comment, the Journal reports.

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