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CenturyLink To Bring Broadband To 1.2 Million Rural Households In 33 States

Company to accept approximately $500 million from the Connect America Fund

CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) announced today that it will bring high-speed Internet services to approximately 1.2 million rural households and businesses in 33 states by accepting approximately $500 million a year for six years from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s Connect America Fund (CAF).

CenturyLink is accepting 33 CAF phase II statewide offers from the FCC to bring Internet service with speeds of at least 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload to locations in FCC-designated, high-cost census blocks.

“Our acceptance of the CAF II funding continues our commitment to further bridge the urban-rural digital divide by bringing high-speed broadband to households and businesses in many of CenturyLink’s most rural markets,” said John Jones, CenturyLink senior vice president for public policy and government relations. “These are high-cost markets with many deployment challenges. The Connect America Fund, along with our significant capital investments over the years, help make deploying rural broadband more cost effective. We believe the high-speed connectivity we will provide will bring many benefits to rural communities, including economic development and better access to education and healthcare services such as distance learning and telemedicine.”

Once CenturyLink’s CAF II six-year build-out plan is finalized over the coming months, construction is expected to begin in early 2016. CenturyLink is accepting the CAF II obligation to build and maintain a broadband network that reaches these high-cost locations, thus committing billions of dollars in capital expenditures to rural America.

CenturyLink has decided to decline the CAF II statewide offers for the states of California, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Wyoming. According to the CAF II rules, companies must decide whether to accept CAF II funding and related service obligations for their service areas on a statewide basis. If a company declines to accept a CAF II statewide offer, that funding will be subject to a competitive bidding process prescribed by the FCC whereby eligible providers can bid to serve all or part of those areas. CenturyLink remains committed to meeting the communications needs of its customers and may elect to participate in the FCC’s bidding process and compete for CAF II support once the auction rules and requirements are finalized by the FCC.

The FCC created the CAF program in 2011 to facilitate the deployment of high-speed Internet access in high-cost locations by transitioning Universal Service Fund money that was supporting rural landline service to the build-out of broadband infrastructure in rural communities.

CenturyLink previously accepted approximately $75 million in CAF phase I interim, one-time support to bring broadband with 4 Mbps download speed to nearly 114,000 unserved rural locations.

White House Recognizes CenturyLink Participation In ConnectHome Initiative

President Obama today announced the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) ConnectHome initiative to address the challenges of broadband adoption among residents of public housing. The President recognized CenturyLink for making home Internet service available to low-income HUD households via the CenturyLink Internet Basics program.

“CenturyLink thanks President Obama for recognizing our Internet Basics program and for his commitment to increasing broadband adoption among low-income families. As one of America’s leading Internet service providers, we’re proud to offer Internet Basics to low-income households across our service areas and look forward to partnering with HUD’s ConnectHome initiative to conduct digital literacy training programs in Seattle,” said CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Government Relations John Jones.

“Our Internet Basics program is consistent with CenturyLink’s vision, which features a focus on improving lives and connecting communities. Through this program, CenturyLink is helping low-income consumers gain access to the social, educational and economic resources available on the Internet.”

For more information, visit www.centurylink.com/internetbasics     

CenturyLink’s Gig Service Recognized By Fiber To The Home Council

CenturyLink was recently recognized by the Fiber to the Home (FTTH) Council with its 2015 Chairman’s Award. This award is given at the discretion of the Chairman of the FTTH Council Board of Directors and singles out an individual or company that has shown tremendous effort to promote, educate or accelerate the deployment of fiber to the home.

CenturyLink received the award for having “rolled out service to almost 20 communities across the United States. Since its announcement of its first gigabit pilot in mid 2013, CenturyLink has been providing high-speed broadband service to underserved communities.”

Thank you to the FTTH Council for recognizing us with this award. We are proud to be a leading provider of gigabit service in the communities we serve.

CenturyLink Supports Lifeline Modernization

The FCC released a proposal today that would expand the Lifeline program for low-income consumers to broadband service.

“CenturyLink is committed to meeting the needs of the communities we serve,” said CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Government Relations John Jones. “We support efforts to modernize and update the Lifeline program, and look forward to working with the commission to extend the program to broadband service, enabling more low-income families to get online.”

CenturyLink and LGS Innovations Deliver High-Speed Supercomputing Network To U.S. Department of Defense Researchers

NASA’s Stennis Space Center to receive first major upgrade under DREN

CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) and LGS Innovations announced today that they will be upgrading the Defense Research and Engineering Network (DREN) to achieve speeds of 40 gigabits per second at five supercomputing locations.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) High Performance Computing Modernization Program, DREN is a high-speed, fiber-optic network that connects five DoD supercomputing facilities to 4,300 scientists at more than 150 agencies and research sites within the U.S.

DREN speeds presently range from 50 megabits to 40 gigabits per second, depending on the site, and are delivered through a mix of Ethernet, Internet Protocol and optical wavelength services.

The Navy DoD Supercomputing Resource Center at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, which operates national test facilities for the rocket engine propulsion programs, will be the first of five DREN locations to receive 40 gigabit service.

CenturyLink was awarded DREN III, a 10-year lifecycle indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract worth up to $750 million, by the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency’s Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization (DISA DITCO) in December 2012.

LGS is working as a subcontractor to CenturyLink to engineer a robust, high-performance network that delivers on the ever-increasing complexity of DREN customers’ mission requirements in a distributed and interactive computing environment, while meeting stringent security requirements.

“CenturyLink is excited to provide the Department of Defense with a highly secure, ultra high-speed network for federal researchers, scientists and engineers to accelerate the development and deployment of next-generation networking technologies that are critical to America’s national security,” said Tim Meehan, CenturyLink Government’s senior vice president and general manager.

“We are honored to be working with CenturyLink on this critical work,” said LGS Innovations CEO Kevin Kelly. “DREN is advancing the science and technology missions of the Department of Defense and other federal agencies by enabling them to stay on the forefront of research and development.”

CenturyLink Supports Cybersecurity Legislation

CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) supports several cybersecurity bills—including the Protecting Cyber Networks Act (H.R. 1560), the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act  (H.R. 1731) and the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (S. 754)—that are moving through Congress.

“CenturyLink has devoted significant resources to protecting our network from cyber attacks and helping our customers improve their cyber defenses,” said CenturyLink Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Government Relations John Jones. “We support efforts by Congress to enact legislation that facilitates effective, actionable sharing of critical cyber threat indicators among government and private industry partners. However, we must extend vital privacy and liability protections to Internet service providers and their customers to achieve the coordination we need between government and providers. We continue to be optimistic that Congress will pass, and the President will sign, cybersecurity legislation that achieves both of these important objectives and helps our nation better defend itself against cyber attacks.”

CenturyLink Appeals Net Neutrality Decision

CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) today filed a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit challenging the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality order on the grounds that it is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and a violation of federal law.

“CenturyLink invests hundreds of millions of dollars a year to build, maintain and update an open Internet network and does not block or degrade lawful content. However, the FCC has chosen to subjugate the Internet to government-controlled public utility regulations from the 1930s. These regulations not only have no place in the 21st century economy, but will chill innovation and investment. We are challenging the FCC’s misguided net neutrality order for these reasons and because we believe it could lead to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers.”

CenturyLink: Net Neutrality, Municipal Broadband Orders Hurt Innovation

WASHINGTON – The following statements on today’s Federal Communications Commission votes are from CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) Executive Vice President for Public Policy and Government Relations Steve Davis:

“Taken together, the FCC’s net neutrality and municipal broadband pre-emption orders will make it harder for broadband providers to deploy fiber in their networks and offer the higher speeds and better performance levels customers demand. The end result of these new regulations is that Internet innovation and investment will suffer.”

Net neutrality order:

“CenturyLink is very concerned about the impact of regulating the Internet as a utility under a 1930s regulatory regime that has no place in the 21st century economy. We agree with the basic principles of an open Internet and believe the FCC could have prohibited the blocking or degrading of lawful content—something CenturyLink has never done—without stifling innovation. We look forward to working with Congress to pass net neutrality legislation that protects consumers and doesn’t smother the growth engine of our economy with obsolete regulations.”

Municipal broadband pre-emption order:

“CenturyLink is disappointed that the FCC has decided to grant the municipal broadband pre-emption petitions and substitute its judgment for that of states and localities on how to best allocate limited taxpayer dollars. We believe the best approach is for municipalities to explore workable partnerships with existing Internet service providers. We applaud efforts by members of Congress, including legislation introduced today by U.S. Senator Thom Tillis and Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, to preserve state and local laws that protect taxpayers from municipal broadband failures. CenturyLink will continue to work closely with communities, local leaders and Congress on creative public-private partnerships that bring high-speed Internet services to more American homes and businesses.”

CenturyLink Urges Congress To Update Communications Act, Reform Retransmission Consent Rules

CenturyLink submitted comments today commending the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee for reviewing the current laws governing the market for video content distribution as part of the committee’s efforts to update and modernize our nation’s telecommunications laws.

Over the past five years, CenturyLink has begun offering video competition and programming options through the launch of its Prism™ TV service to approximately 2 million homes in a dozen markets. The company has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in deploying high-speed broadband services to support its IPTV digital video product.

In the markets where it is available, Prism™ TV provides significant competition and consumer choice, generally offering the only facilities-based alternative to incumbent cable operators for the bundles of video, broadband, and voice that consumers increasingly demand.

However, consumers are feeling the impact of rising content costs through increased prices and surcharges on their cable bills. The rapid rise in the cost of content – in particular, the steadily rising fees that CenturyLink must pay for retransmission of local broadcasting signals – threatens CenturyLink’s ability to provide competitive video services.

We urge Congress to reform the 1992 Cable Act to permit new video market entrants to compete on a more equitable basis and to require greater transparency in the prices, terms and conditions of content agreements. Broadcasters currently have little incentive to offer fair and reasonable terms to new entrants, which effectively deprives consumers of the benefits of competition.

CenturyLink believes the Cable Act should be amended to give providers the right to carry national programming from an adjacent or alternate market during a breakdown in retransmission consent negotiations, thus preserving competition and protecting consumers from programming blackouts. Consumers benefit from more choices and more competition, not less.

CenturyLink Statement On President Obama’s Remarks In Cedar Falls

WASHINGTON – CenturyLink released the following statement regarding President Obama’s remarks about municipal broadband in Cedar Falls, Iowa:

“CenturyLink invests hundreds of millions of dollars a year to bring high-speed broadband to millions of Americans. Consumers benefit from this investment and from marketplace competition. CenturyLink customers can get speeds up to 1 gigabit per second in 16 cities around the country. In Iowa alone, CenturyLink’s investment of more than $2.5 billion to date allows many Eastern and Central Iowa residents to receive speeds up to 100 megabits per second. However, we believe government-owned broadband networks are not a good use of limited tax dollars due to their high failure rates.

We are in a dynamic and rapidly changing telecommunications environment that will continue to provide creative and unique partnership opportunities for providers and consumers. CenturyLink will continue to work closely with our communities, listen carefully and take a solutions-based approach to addressing broadband, voice and data-hosting needs. We believe the majority of municipalities understand the challenges and costs of operating high-speed networks long term and are looking for efficient solutions that will benefit consumers and lower the costs of obtaining rights of way and deploying networks at the local level.”