Iowa Utilities Board approves CenturyLink-Qwest deal

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) and Qwest (NYSE: Q) can now cross off Iowa Utility Board in the approval process for their pending multi-billion dollar merger deal.

Although the two telcos recently got 12 state regulatory approvals, including most recently Virginia and Pennsylvania, Iowa is the first state in both CenturyLink and Qwest's local territories to approve the deal.

Prior to getting the Iowa Utility Board's approval, CenturyLink and Qwest reached agreements with the Iowa Office of Consumer Advocate and various Iowa-based competitive service providers over retail and wholesale issues. What's more, the combined company promised to spend at least $25 million on expanding broadband availability in the state over the next five years.

Not everyone has been happy with the deal, however. Last week, the Department of Defense in conjunction with the Federal Executive Agencies (FEA)-one of Qwest's largest customers--filed proceedings in Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Washington state citing concerns over potential pricing and service quality issues that could arise when the deal is completed.

To allay government customers concerns, Qwest and CenturyLink proposed a three-year rate cap for its federal government customers.

Despite this move, competitive Integra Telecom, a CLEC that rents wholesale access from Qwest, is concerned that the complexity of integrating the two companies could pose potential operational issues.

For more:
- see the release

Related articles:
Qwest's (NYSE: Q) Q3 landline losses offset by broadband gains
Sizing up the wireline industry in the third quarter 2010
CenturyLink, Qwest: A new service provider era?
CenturyLink, Qwest lower rates to placate federal customers
CenturyLink gets U.S. antitrust approval to proceed with Qwest acquisition