The FCC is set to approve the pending merger of CenturyTel with Embarq, maybe as early as this week. The newly formed company will be called CenturyLink. The new rural super carrier will have approximately 7.5 million access lines, more than two million broadband customers and more than 400,000 video subscribers, across a 33 state footprint. The Wall Street Journal is reporting the FCC is ready to approve the CenturyTel-Embarq merger with some broadband related conditions.
Those conditions include:
- At least 90% of broadband customers should have download speeds of at least 768 Kbps within three years
- Within two years, 87% of customers with broadband access should have download speeds of at least 1.5 Mbps.
- Within a year of the deal’s closing, 75% of broadband customers should have access to download speeds of 3 Mbps, and increase that access to 80% of customers within three years.
Conditions regarding upload speeds, which are becoming increasingly important, were not revealed, if they exist at all. The FCC has routinely required service and price conditions for merger approvals. The merger is coming down to the wire, at least as defined by CenturyTel and Embarq, who have consistently said the deal will close ‘sometime’ in 2Q09. 3Q09 begins eight days from today.