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Press Release -- December 19th, 2011
Source: Level 3 Communications
Tags: Construction, Exchange, Expansion, ILEC, Video

Level 3’s Advanced IP Network Plays Important Role in the $46.6 million ARRA-funded California Central Valley Broadband Project

Federal-funded Project to Bring Economic, Educational Benefits of Advanced Internet Services to Underserved Rural Region Using Level 3 Network

BROOMFIELD, Colo.,Dec. 19, 2011/PRNewswire/ --Level 3 Communications, Inc.(NYSE:LVLT, news, filings), the Central Valley Independent Network (CVIN LLC), and the nonprofit Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) today announced that Level 3's advanced IP network will serve as an important component in the Central Valley Next Generation Broadband Infrastructure project, a $66.6 million total cost project that is being partly funded with $46.6 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The project will bring advanced communications to rural, underserved areas by creating a 1,300 mile, high-capacity fiber-based infrastructure throughout 18 counties in California's Central Valley. The project is a joint effort of the CVIN and the CENIC, and will utilize over 300-route miles of Level 3 infrastructure as part of the 18-county backbone network. The launch of the project's construction was celebrated earlier this month.

As a result of the project, more than four million people in nearly 2,000 communities will be able to leverage the countless benefits of broadband access to the Internet. Once the project is complete, 64 anchor institutions, including K-12 and higher education providers, county and main libraries, healthcare providers, public safety sites, businesses and residences will connect to the fiber backbone that is at the heart of the project.

Residences and businesses in the project area will be served by CVIN LLC's Vast Networks, a joint enterprise created in 1995 and comprised of affiliates of several independent telephone companies located in central and northernCalifornia. CVIN's management has more than 250 team-years of experience in the telecom industry, and many of CVIN's member companies have been serving California's rural market for more than 100 years.

Virtually all of California's K-20 research and education community — more than ten million people — have been served every day for the past decade by the ultra-advanced fiber-optic backbone created and maintained by CENIC, the 3,000-mile California Research & Education Networkor CalREN, to which the 64 anchor institutions in the project area will connect via fiber.

"I fully intend to make CVIN / Vast Networks the dominant broadband provider in the region," said David S. Nelson, chief executive officer of CVIN / Vast Networks. "The Central Valley is ripe for this major infrastructure project, which will provide excellent service at a competitive price. By leveraging CENIC / Level 3's existing infrastructure along with the new network, Vast Networks will have access to affordable Internet bandwidth that we can deliver to the homes and businesses of the Central Valley,"

"CENIC's goal has always been to connect its K-20 member institutions via robust and high-capacity fiber to the CalREN backbone so that the community that we were created to serve can enjoy all the benefits of advanced networking, and Level 3's network and support has been a valuable part of this effort," said Jim Dolgonas, president and CEO of CENIC. "Thanks to funding from ARRA and the California Advanced Service Fund (CASF) and the investment of CVIN's affiliates, we will be able to bring the benefits of advanced communications technology to the people in the underservedCentral Valleyregion."

Delivering high capacity and extensive network reach, fiber assets from Level 3 already have played a vital role in serving the research and education institutions of California. Since the early 2000s, CENIC and Level 3 have forged agreements enabling CalREN to be created and to operate over the Level 3 fiber-optic network. Level 3's national profile in other ARRA-funded efforts to bring the benefits of broadband networking to underserved communities also made them an excellent ally in this effort.

"As rapidly as the role and value of the Internet grows — from distance learning to video conferencing to research — so does the disadvantage of not having fast, reliable Internet access, which is why Level 3's advanced IP network and its extensive reach are ideal for this project," saidEdward Morche, senior vice president of Level 3's government markets group, which serves the Research and Education market. "Through long-term relationships with organizations like CENIC and CVIN, our network will deliver faster, more reliable Internet to this underserved region, resulting in the education, enterprise and economic advantages that come from bridging the digital divide."

Prior to the implementation of this project, CVIN has leveraged the positive relationship between CENIC and Level 3 to provide Internet access to its existing business and residential customers.

Despite the crucial agricultural role played by the Central Valley in providing the necessities of life to many millions of people nationwide, substantial portions of the Valley are firmly on the wrong side of the "digital divide." Seven of the ten cities throughout the U.S. with the highest unemployment rates as of August 2011are located in counties which will be served by this project. Expanding high-capacity Internet access to these and similar cities could also support economic recovery in these rural areas.

For more information on Level 3's advanced network and service offerings, visit www.level3.com.

About CVIN / Vast Networks - www.cvin.com

Organized in 1995, CVIN LLC (Central Valley Independent Network) is a joint enterprise comprised of affiliates of several Independent Telephone Companies located in central and northern California offering a full line of SS7 Network Services to other telecommunications companies in the area. Born from the Independent Telephone Industry where quality of service has always been stressed, CVIN's services are state-of-the-art, its network reliable, its prices competitive, and its customer service beyond compare. CVIN's management team has over 250 person-years of experience in the telecom industry. Each CVIN member company is an affiliate of a rural independent telephone company, including Sebastian, Ponderosa, Sierra, Calaveras, Volcano, Ducor, Cal-Ore, and Siskiyou. These telephone companies represent the best in providing exceptional telephone and technology services in each of their individual markets.

About CENIC - www.cenic.org

California's education and research communities leverage their networking resources under CENIC, theCorporation for Education Network Initiatives in California, in order to obtain cost-effective, high-bandwidth networking to support their missions and answer the needs of their faculty, staff, and students.

CENIC designs, implements, and operates CalREN, the California Research and Education Network, a high-bandwidth, high-capacity Internet network specially designed to meet the unique requirements of these communities, and to which the vast majority of the state's K-20 educational institutions are connected. In order to facilitate collaboration in education and research, CENIC also provides connectivity to non-California institutions and industry research organizations with which CENIC's Associate researchers and educators are engaged.  For more information, visit www.cenic.org.

About Level 3 Communications

Level 3 Communications, Inc.(NYSE: LVLT) is a premier global provider of IP-based communications services to enterprise, content, government and wholesale customers. Over its reliable, scalable and secure network, Level 3 delivers integrated IP solutions, including converged, data, voice, video and managed solutions to help enable customers' growth and efficiency. Level 3 operates a unique global services platform anchored by owned fiber networks on three continents in more than 45 countries, connected by extensive undersea facilities. For more information, visit www.level3.com.

©Level 3 Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Level 3,Level 3 Communications, Level (3), Think Ahead, the Level 3 Logo and the Level 3 Think Ahead logo are either registered service marks or service marks ofLevel 3 Communications, LLC and/or one of its Affiliates inthe United Statesand/or other countries. Level 3 services are provided by wholly owned subsidiaries ofLevel 3 Communications, Inc.  Any other service names, product names, company names or logos included herein are the trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.

Website Access to Company Information

Level 3 maintains a corporate website at www.level3.com, and you can find additional information about the company through the Investors pages on that website at http://lvlt.client.shareholder.com/.  Level 3 uses its website as a channel of distribution of important information about the company. Level 3 routinely posts financial and other important information regarding the company and its business, financial condition and operations on the Investor Relations web pages.

Visitors to the Investors Relations web pages can view and print copies of Level 3'sSECfilings, including periodic and current reports on Forms 10-K, 10-Q, 8-K, as soon as reasonably practicable after those filings are made with theSEC.

Copies of the charters for each of the Audit, Compensation and Nominating and Governance committees of Level 3's Board of Directors, its Corporate Governance Guidelines, Code of Ethics, press releases and analysts and investor conference presentations are all available through the Investor Relations web pages.

Please note that the information contained on any of Level 3's web sites is not incorporated by reference in, or considered to be a part of, any document unless expressly incorporated by reference in that document.

Forward-Looking Statement

Some of the statements made in this press release are forward looking in nature. These statements are based on management's current expectations or beliefs. These forward looking statements are not a guarantee of performance and are subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside Level 3's control, which could cause actual events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the statements. The most important factors that could prevent Level 3 from achieving its stated goals include, but are not limited to: the company's ability to successfully integrate the Global Crossing acquisition, the current uncertainty in the global financial markets and the global economy; a discontinuation of the development and expansion of the Internet as a communications medium and marketplace for the distribution and consumption of data and video; and disruptions in the financial markets that could affect Level 3's ability to obtain additional financing.  Additional factors include, but are not limited to, the company's ability to: increase and maintain the volume of traffic on its network; develop effective business support systems; manage system and network failures or disruptions; develop new services that meet customer demands and generate acceptable margins; defend intellectual property and proprietary rights; adapt to rapid technological changes that lead to further competition; attract and retain qualified management and other personnel; successfully integrate future acquisitions; and meet all of the terms and conditions of debt obligations. Additional information concerning these and other important factors can be found within Level 3's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Statements in this press release should be evaluated in light of these important factors. Level 3 is under no obligation to, and expressly disclaims any such obligation to, update or alter its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

Contact Information
Media: Investors:
Monica Martinez, Level 3 Mark Stoutenberg, Level 3
720-888-3991 720-888-2518
Monica.Martinez@Level3.com Mark.Stoutenberg@Level3.com
Janis Cortese, CENIC
jcortese@cenic.org
Mike Stewart, CVIN
mstewart@cvin.com

SOURCELevel 3 Communications, Inc.

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