FCC near OK for CenturyTel-Embarq deal

The Federal Communications Commission, still limited to three commissioners pending the arrival of a new chairman and one other commissioner, reportedly is very close to approving the CenturyTel-Embarq deal. The companies agreed to acquisition approval conditions that included a pledge to upgrade broadband speeds, not a particularly surprising condition given that the FCC is knee-deep in its development of a national broadband plan.

The broadband commitments include providing 90 percent of broadband customers with download speeds of at least 768 kbps in the next three years, and delivering at least 1.5 Mbps to at least 87 percent of customers within two years, according to a story in The Wall Street Journal. Within the next year after the deal closes, about 75 percent of customers are supposed to get at least 3 Mbps capability.

After the acquisition is completed, the combined entity will be called CenturyLink, and will operate in 33 states, with 7.5 million phone lines, 2.1 million broadband subscribers and 440,000 video customers. The companies already have received deal approval from regulators in all of those states.

For more:
- The Wall Street Journal has this story

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CenturyTel and Embarq forged a new identity this month
The acquisition was announced in October 2008