regulators OK Qwest merger
By Andy Vuong
The Denver Post
December 15, 2010
regulators today approved the proposed merger between telephone
and broadband service providers Qwest and CenturyLink.
Colorado Public Utilities Commission rejected a request by state
consumer advocates to implement higher service quality
benchmarks and potential penalties as a condition of approval.
The Office of Consumer
Counsel raised concerns that service could worsen because the
companies have indicated the merger would allow them to shave
$575 million in annual operating costs.
PUC Chairman Ron Binz
noted that Qwest's customer service has improved in recent
years. He also agreed with the position of the PUC staff that
there is adequate competition to incent Denver-based Qwest and
Monroe, La.-based CenturyLink to maintain service levels.
"I don't perceive that
there's a problem that needs fixing," Binz said during
voted 2-1 to include a condition requesting that the combined
company's corporate giving in Colorado during the first three years after
the merger stays above its mark from 2007, 2008 and 2009.
plans in April to acquire Qwest for $22 billion in stock and
The deal is expected
to close in the first half of 2011. It still requires approval
from several states and the Federal Communications Commission.
Andy Vuong: 303-954-1209,