Integra Telecom drops opposition to CenturyLink/Qwest merger

Integra Telecom has come to terms with CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) and Qwest (NYSE: Q) on wholesale conditions by resolving issues the CLEC raised about the two service providers' pending deal in some of the states where Qwest currently operates.
With this agreement in place, Integra not only said the CenturyLink-Qwest merger is in the public interest, but it won't file further oppositions at the state and federal regulatory level.

"After extensive negotiations over the last month, we are pleased to have arrived at an agreement that resolves all of our issues with the merger," said Dudley Slater, CEO of Integra Telecom in release announcing the agreement. "This addresses the concerns we had regarding the potential risks the merger posed and from our perspective, the merger is in the public interest and should be approved."

Previously Integra, which operates in a number of Qwest's existing states leveraging its copper and fiber, was one of the staunchest opponents to the deal. At issue for the CLEC were concerns over the combined company's ability to conduct orders and respond to potential network issues.

CenturyLink continues to make progress in Qwest's states. Integra joins a number of other CLECs in addition to the consumer counsel in both Iowa and Minnesota's Department of Commerce. Meanwhile, Utah's public service commission staff, the consumer advocate and the Salt Lake Community Action Program, also reached an agreement with CenturyLink.   

Of course, the bigger challenge that CenturyLink faces is in winning over Qwest's existing government agency customers. After the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Federal Executive Agencies (FEA), filed testimony in Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Washington State, CenturyLink and Qwest vowed to lower its service rates it charges to its federal government customer base.  

Although CenturyLink has made continued progress in proceeding with its acquisition of Qwest with 12 states-including most recently Iowa--and the District of Columbia approving the deal, it still needs the approval of nine other states and the FCC before it can be completed next year.

For more:
- see the release

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