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Telecommunications - Proposed CenturyLink and Qwest Merger Settlement Placed Before UTC

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January 03, 2011

Telecommunications – Proposed CenturyLink and Qwest Merger Settlement Placed Before UTC

By Carolyn J Dawson, TMCnet Contributor

On the proposed merger of CenturyLink and Qwest Communications, the two companies have agreed on a settlement deal with the staff of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) and the Public Counsel Section of the Washington State Attorney General's Office. As per the settlement proposed by the parties, UTC has been recommended to approve the transactions that are subject to certain conditions.

However, after reviewing the settlement, UTC may chose to approve, reject or change the conditions. The settlement hearing is scheduled to take place from Jan. 5-7.

As per the agreement terms, a minimum of $80 million will be invested by both CenturyLink and Qwest (News - Alert) towards the development of broadband infrastructure in Washington over five years from which the broadband services in unserved and underserved areas will form the significant portion of the investment.

Furthermore, certain retail and wholesale issues will also be resolved in the agreement with rates frozen for at-least three years. Also, regular updates and reports will be delivered by the merged company to the commission relative to the companies’ integration.

In a press release, Kirk Nelson, Qwest Washington president, said, “We are pleased an agreement was reached with the UTC staff and Public Counsel and that they are recommending the Commission approve the merger. This agreement assures that Qwest's strong commitment to its customers in Washington will continue after the transaction is completed and our companies have combined operations.”

In a statement, John Jones, vice president of state government affairs for CenturyLink, said, “The needs of the people of Washington were a primary consideration during the discussions about the proposed merger. It was a thorough process, and we are pleased that it resulted in additional support of the merger.”

As a leading provider of high-quality broadband, entertainment and voice services, CenturyLink makes use of its advanced communications networks to deliver to its consumers and businesses in 33 states. Qwest's industry-leading national fiber-optic network and world-class customer service helps meet the communications and entertainment needs of millions of customers worldwide.

For residential customers, Qwest solutions include fiber-optic-fast Internet service, high-speed internet solutions, as well as home phone, Verizon Wireless (News - Alert), and DIRECTV services. Recognized as a leader in the network services market, Qwest participates in Networx which is the largest communications services contract in the world.

Carolyn John is a Contributor to TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please columnist page.

Edited by Jaclyn Allard

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