CenturyTel announced they received the remaining state approvals necessary for their merger with EMBARQ. Both Pennsylvania and Washington approved the transaction. All that remains now is the required blessing from the FCC. “Upon FCC approval, we will create a new leading communications company, which will have the scale and financial strength to deliver a compelling portfolio of communications services targeted to benefit customers across our markets,” said Tom Gerke, EMBARQ’s chief executive officer in a CenturyTel statement.
The merger is expected to close sometime in 2Q09 and will create a rural super carrier with 7.5 million access lines, more than two million broadband customers and more than 400,000 video subscribers (as of March 31, 2009). If Frontier’s acquisition of Verizon’s rural lines is approved, then CenturyTel-EMBARQ will battle them for the largest rural focused telco crown in North America.