FCC gives the green light for network operator takeover

CenturyLink will close its acquisition of Level 3 later this week, having secured the approval of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the deal.

The FCC green light was the final approval CenturyLink needed to be able to complete the US$34 billion deal, the network operator announced on Monday.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) gave the proposed transaction the go-ahead – subject to certain asset sales – at the start of October, at which time CenturyLink said it was working towards a mid-to-late-October timeframe to close the purchase, having had to push back an earlier deadline of end-Q3.

It almost achieved its most recent target; the deal will close on 1 November, the company said.

"The combined company will offer customers a broader and more complementary range of services and solutions and enable the advanced technology and growing bandwidth needs of its business, government and consumer customers," CenturyLink said, in a statement.

The DoJ will require the merged entity to sell Level 3’s metro network assets in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Boise, Idaho; and Tucson, Arizona. However, it will hold on to its customers in those areas, unless they choose to move their business to whoever buys the assets.

The merged company will be able to purchase network services from the buyer in those areas should it need to in order to provide uninterrupted service to customers.

It must also divest 24 strands of dark fibre connecting 30 specified city pairs across the country in the form of an indefeasible right of use. The fibres in question are not currently in commercial use.

Earlier this month CenturyLink invited parties interested in acquiring the assets to get in touch, but it has not made any comment on the matter since.