Colorado PUC approves CenturyLink-Qwest deal

It's been a busy week for CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) and Qwest (NYSE: Q) as the pair's merger got the Colorado Public Utility Commission's approval on Wednesday. On Tuesday, the Montana PUC also approved the merger.  

Of course, the Colorado PUC's approval of the deal did not come without strings attached.

Similar to other state approvals, the Colorado PUC required that the combined company invest at least $70 million in broadband infrastructure in Colorado over five years.

In addition to the broadband commitment, PUC Chairman Ron Binz proposed a philanthropy provision. According to figures given to the Denver Business Journal, Qwest made $5.4 million in charitable donations in Colorado in 2009 through its nonprofit Foundation.

Chuck Ward, Qwest's Colorado President, said that while the combined company will continue its philanthropic efforts after the merger is complete, "We're not a corporate headquarters anymore, or we won't be, and to require giving as if we are would be improper."

When the merger is complete, Colorado will be the combined ILEC's largest serving area in its 37 state region in terms of total access lines. In addition, Denver, Co also will become the headquarters for the company's Mountain Region, which will serve Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming, and its Business Markets Group.

The merger now needs regulatory approval from seven more state PUCs and the FCC.

For more:
- see the release
- Denver Business Journal has this article

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