CenturyLink, Qwest Get OK to Merge in Montana

Montanas utilities regulators on Tuesday unanimously approved the pending merger between CenturyLink Inc. and Qwest Communications International Inc.

In return, CenturyLink and Qwest promised to invest at least $10 million in Montanas broadband infrastructure over the next five years. CenturyLink and Qwest further reached some wholesale and retail accords with CLECs, in efforts to secure the Montana Public Service Commissions consent. CenturyLink and Qwest have made similar commitments in other states, including Arizona, Colorado and Iowa.

When combined, CenturyLink and Qwest expect to serve almost 270,000 access lines throughout Big Sky Country.

Montana is the 13th state to give CenturyLink-Qwest the nod, in addition to the District of Columbia. Eight states and the FCC still must give the $22.4 billion deal the thumbs-up.

“We appreciate the approval of the transaction by the Montana Public Service Commission and look forward to bringing a wider variety of communications products and services and broadband availability to Montana than either company could offer alone,” said Jeremy Ferkin, vice president and general manager of CenturyLink Montana, in a prepared statement.

Together, CenturyLink and Qwest served about 5.3 million broadband customers, 15.7 million access lines and more than 1 million video subscribers as of Sept. 30. Once joined, the company will boast 180,000 fiber route miles. 

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