Merger might not boost phone rates in Franklin County area
Marcus Rauhut, Staff writer
Chambersburg Public Opinion
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Local CenturyLink customers should not see an initial rate
increase if a merger with Qwest Communications is approved.
CenturyLink agreed to not ask for a rate increase when it makes
its annual rate filings in September 2011 and September 2012 as
part of a settlement agreement in the merger application.
CenturyLink, the local exchange carrier formerly known as Embarq,
wants to acquire Qwest Communications.
Office of the Consumer Advocate and the Office of Small Business
Advocate filed petitions that raised concerns about the proposed
deal, but have since reached a settlement that spelled out a
number of conditions.
"With those conditions, we think it will be a benefit to
customers," said Sonny Popowski, the Pennsylvania Consumer Advocate. "There are
some benefits from the merger in terms of locking in basic rates
at their current levels and accelerating some of the broadband
commitments. They're providing broadband to some rural
communities a little more quickly. And there's also some service
quality monitoring they agreed to."
It's still too early to tell what the name of the combined
company will be. More details will be forthcoming once the
acquisition closes, which is expected to happen in the first
half of 2011.
regulators will likely approve the merger between CenturyLink
and Qwest Communications.
Mergers and consolidations are becoming more common among the
smaller companies in the telecommunications
industry, Popowski said.
If approved, the CenturyLink-Qwest deal would create a national
telecommunications company with a presence in 37 states.
The acquisition has already been approved
by shareholders, the Federal Trade Commission, and a number of
states in which the companies operate.