Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Commission Document

Conditional Approval for CenturyLink/Qwest Merger

Download Options

Released: March 18, 2011

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th Street, S.W.


Washington, D. C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

March 18, 2011
Mark Wigfield, 202-418-0253


Commitments Promise To Significantly Increase Broadband Adoption, Availability
Washington, D.C. The Federal Communications Commission today approved the merger of
CenturyLink Inc. and Qwest Communications International Inc. In doing so, the Commission
imposed protections against the risk of harm to competition and ensured the merged entity will
live up to its commitments to significantly expand its network and launch a major broadband
adoption program for low-income consumers.
The transaction is expected to close soon after the companies have obtained their final state
Based on the companies' agreement to certain conditions, the FCC found that the potential
public interest benefits of the merger are likely to outweigh the potential harms. Binding and
enforceable conditions include:

Broadband adoption program for low-income consumers

o Launch major broadband adoption program focused on connecting the millions of
low-income consumers in the combined company's 37-state territory.
o Offer qualifying households broadband starting at less than $10 per month and a
computer for less than $150, and keep the window open for five years for
qualifying consumers to sign up.
o Make a significant annual commitment to marketing, outreach, and digital literacy
training, and include detailed reporting on outcomes and an independent analysis
of the program's effectiveness.

Broadband deployment

o Significantly increase the capacity of the Qwest network, bringing broadband
with actual download speeds of at least 4 Megabits per second (Mbps) to at least 4
million more homes and businesses, and at least 20,000 more anchor institutions,
such as schools, libraries, and community centers.
o Significantly increase availability of higher-speed broadband: The company will
more than double the number of homes and businesses that can get 12 Mbps
broadband, and more than triple the number that can get 40 Mbps broadband.

Advancing Universal Service Fund reform

o Phase down three forms of support designed for smaller companies, which the
company currently receives from the federal Universal Service Fund.

Protection against potential transaction-related harms

o No increase in enterprise service prices for 7 years in a few dozen buildings where
the companies currently compete (Minneapolis, Minn., and Olympia, Wash.).
o Safeguards for smooth transition of operations support systems, to protect
wholesale customers.
o Ensuring the merger does not harm interconnection agreements with competing
phone carriers.
o Maintenance of wholesale service quality.
Monroe, Louisiana-based CenturyLink offers voice, video, and data services in 33 states, serving
approximately 7 million access lines and 2.2 million broadband customers in its region.
CenturyLink also operates as a competitive local exchange carrier in certain local and regional
markets. Denver, Colorado-based Qwest operates as a local exchange carrier serving 10.3
million lines in a 14-state region; has 3 million broadband customers; and sells wireless, video,
and extensive wholesale services through its subsidiaries. Under the deal, Qwest will operate as
a wholly owned subsidiary of CenturyLink.
Action by the Commission, March 18, 2011, by Memorandum Opinion & Order (FCC 11-47).
Chairman Genachowski, Commissioner Clyburn, with Commissioners Copps, McDowell and
Baker concurring. Separate statements issued by Chairman Genachowski, Commissioners
Copps, McDowell, Clyburn and Baker.

Wireline Competition Bureau Staff Contact: Alexis Johns at 202-418-1167
News about the Federal Communications Commission can also be found
on the Commission's web site

Note: We are currently transitioning our documents into web compatible formats for easier reading. We have done our best to supply this content to you in a presentable form, but there may be some formatting issues while we improve the technology. The original version of the document is available as a PDF, Word Document, or as plain text.


You are leaving the FCC website

You are about to leave the FCC website and visit a third-party, non-governmental website that the FCC does not maintain or control. The FCC does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for, nor can it guarantee the validity or timeliness of the content on the page you are about to visit. Additionally, the privacy policies of this third-party page may differ from those of the FCC.