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Press Release -- January 5th, 2011
Source: TW Telecom
Tags: Ethernet, Exchange, Merger, VoIP

CenturyLink Qwest Merger Poses Serious Threat to Competition and Nation’s Business Customers

- Approval of merger in current state expected to impair domestic job growth
- CenturyLink’s record as a wholesale services provider poses harm to Competitive Telecom and industry innovation

LITTLETON, Colo. – January 5, 2011 – tw telecom, (NASDAQ:TWTC, news, filings) a
leading national provider of managed voice, Internet and data networking solutions for businesses across the U.S. and globally, today called on the FCC to establish procompetitive merger conditions in its review of CenturyLink’s proposed acquisition of Qwest Communications International Inc.

This transaction poses a threat to competition and innovation in the business market, according to the company. For months, tw telecom has attempted to resolve these concerns with CenturyLink, but CenturyLink has refused to address these critical business market-related issues. It is necessary, then, that the FCC adopt conditions to prevent CenturyLink from denying, degrading or overpricing the services Qwest and CenturyLink provide competitive service providers like tw telecom. Without these conditions, businesses will face rising costs, declining service levels and will be at a distinct competitive disadvantage, potentially falling further behind globally. As a result, competition, innovation and job creation, largely created by competitive telecom providers, could be stymied.

“It is critical that the needs of American businesses are addressed in this regulatory process” said Paul Jones, Executive VP General Counsel of tw telecom. “While we would prefer to negotiate these critical issues directly with the combined company, CenturyLink has refused to address the concerns we’ve raised. We are, therefore, asking the FCC to address these critical issues in mandatory merger conditions. Without those conditions, business customers will almost certainly receive lower quality and higher priced communications services than what they experience today. The business customers across our nation deserve better.”

In the merger conditions, tw telecom is specifically asking CenturyLink to comply with the following conditions for a minimum of 36 months (the conditions proposed by tw telecom are consistent with conditions ordered by the FCC in prior incumbent LEC and Bell- IXC mergers):

  • Continue to offer Special Access services (e.g. DS-1s, DS-3s) with
    stabilized rates, providing economic certainty as the U.S. economy
    continues its gradual improvement
  • Commit to continue to improve on the service quality initiatives Qwest
    was successful with, including specific performance measures with
    reporting of Special Access and Business Ethernet services
  • Maintain existing agreements for the exchange of Internet backbone
    traffic.

Companies like tw telecom are dependent on the incumbent telephone companies like Qwest and CenturyLink for select last mile access to many business customer locations. This is because the incumbents own the only connections to most business customers. Over the recent past, Qwest has dramatically improved its service quality throughout its network. However, being dependent on the incumbents for that last mile access can be problematic particularly with CenturyLink’s poor record of service performance and quality.1 Businesses will not be able to count on the reliability of their communications services, particularly when there is no alternative to CenturyLink for last mile access.

Special Access services (most importantly, Business Ethernet Special Access services) are essential to all communications providers as they are underlying components in delivering complex services like Business Ethernet, IP Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), and Integrated Services, which are particularly cost effective for the small and medium business market in delivering voice, data and Internet. Special Access can deliver a predictable service level and are able to meet the demanding requirements of complex services like Business Ethernet or IP VPNs.

“The competitive telecom industry has brought tremendous innovation and game changing ideas to meet the needs of businesses across the United States,” Jones said. “Services like Business Ethernet have changed the way businesses connect and communicate, saving them significant expense as businesses adopt and integrate those services. tw telecom helped pioneer the development of Business Ethernet, launching those services over 10 years ago, ahead of any of the RBOCs. Today, Ethernet is the fastest growing communications service in our industry. American businesses need to be able to continue to rely on these types of technological innovation, brought about by competitive telecommunications carriers, to continue to grow and expand, particularly in these challenging economic times.”

For more information about tw telecom, visit www.twtelecom.com .

About tw telecom
tw telecom holdings inc., a unit of tw telecom inc., headquartered in Littleton, Colo., provides managed network services, specializing in Ethernet and transport data networking, Internet access, local and long distance voice, VoIP, VPN and security, to enterprise organizations and communications services companies throughout the U.S. As a leading provider of integrated and converged network solutions, tw telecom delivers customers overall economic value, quality, service, and improved business productivity. Please visit www.twtelecom.com for more information.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Bob Meldrum
bob.meldrum@twtelecom.com
303.566.1354

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