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Tentative approval for merger by Qwest

Two firms would invest $70M in Ariz. broadband infrastructure


Arizona Daily Star

November 30, 2010

Arizona regulators have reached a tentative agreement on a proposed $10 billion merger of Qwest Communications by Louisiana-based CenturyLink Inc.

The utilities staff of the Arizona Corporation Commission and the state Residential Utility Consumer Office have recommended approval of the merger under a settlement agreement.

The full five-member Corporation Commission still must approve the settlement.

The companies, the ACC staff and RUCO agreed to settle a number of retail and wholesale service issues, including a requirement that the companies provide regular updates on the integration of the two firms, Qwest said.

As part of the pact, the companies agreed to invest a minimum of $70 million in broadband infrastructure in Arizona over five years.

CenturyLink and Qwest have reached similar agreements with state regulators in Colorado and Utah, along with federal regulators in Arizona, Colorado and Utah. The companies also have entered into agreements with Integra Telecom, Cox Communications and other competitive local exchange carriers that connect with Qwest's local phone network.

Earlier this month, the Iowa Utilities Board approved the merger, bringing the total number of approvals to 12 states and the District of Columbia. The companies must receive approvals from nine additional states, including Arizona, as well as from the Federal Communications Commission.

The shareholders of both companies approved the merger in August, and the U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission cleared the transaction in July after determining there were no antitrust concerns. The merger is expected to close during the first half of next year.