Conditions Set by FCC in Approval of Merger of CenturyTel and Embarq
Kelley Drye Client Advisory
On Thursday, June 25, 2009, the FCC approved the merger of CenturyTel and Embarq subject to conditions. Those conditions, voluntarily agreed to by CenturyTel/Embarq, respond to many of the concerns raised by competitors in the proceeding. Conditions relevant to wholesale customers of CenturyTel/Embarq (soon to be CenturyLink) include:
- Automatic 3 year extensions on current interconnection agreements (ICAs) (2 years on evergreen ICAs).
- Ability to opt-in to extended ICAs.
- Embarq single point of interconnection and dedicated transport between affiliates preserved through ICA extensions.
- No quantity limits on number porting.
- 911 records unlocked at time of port and trouble reports addressed within 24 hours.
- Merged entity will transition to Embarq OSS within 15 months, and resources will be added on CenturyTel side in the interim to ensure prompt porting.
- Hot cut process established for the merged entity, putting an end to the CenturyTel practice of refusing to re-use in-service loops.
- Preservation of Embarq performance levels and various performance reporting requirements.
- Best efforts standard applicable to market-by-market OSS cut-overs.
- Reduced DS1 loop provisioning intervals for CenturyTel.
- Improved DS1 loop maintenance and repair support for CenturyTel.
- 12 month freeze on UNE-forbearance petitions.
- 12 month freeze on new special access price flex applications.
- 3 year commitment to offer ADSL transmission (up to 3 mbps) on a wholesale basis at rates that do not exceed retail.
- Various provisions streamlining ICA negotiations.
With this order, the FCC has demonstrated its willingness to address wholesale customer concerns in the context of conducting its public interest review of proposed mergers.
Kelley Drye’s Communications Practice Group has substantial experience in representing carriers in FCC merger proceedings and led the competitive carrier effort in this particular one. Should you have any questions about the conditions for wholesale customers or how you can get involved in other pending merger proceedings (Verizon/Frontier), please contact your usual Kelley Drye attorney in the Communications Practice Group. For more information on the Communications practice group, please click here.