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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.”

CenturyLink Applauds Internet Tax Freedom Act Extension

President Obama today signed into law legislation that extends the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA).

“CenturyLink commends Congress for passing and the president for signing legislation that protects consumers and businesses from new taxes on Internet access through Oct. 1, 2015,” said CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) Vice President for Federal Legislative Affairs David Bartlett. “And, we encourage lawmakers to continue working toward a permanent extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which would provide lasting protection from the hundreds of individual tax jurisdictions around the country that are poised to levy new taxes on Internet use. Permanent extension of the ITFA would help create the kind of marketplace certainty that encourages broadband adoption and network investment. We look forward to working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to pass a permanent fix in the next Congress.”

ITFA is a temporary tax moratorium that has been extended several times since it was first signed into law in 1998. Legislation that would permanently extend ITFA was introduced in the 113th Congress by U.S. Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and John Thune (R-S.D.).

For more information, please see a previous public policy blog post on ITFA entitled, CenturyLink Joins Coalition To Prevent Government From Taxing Internet Access.



CenturyLink Comments On Connect America Fund Phase II Order

The FCC adopted an order finalizing Phase II of the Connect America Fund today.

“CenturyLink is pleased that the FCC has updated the federal Universal Service Fund and begun implementing Phase II of the Connect America Fund program,” CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) Executive Vice President for Public Policy and Government Relations Steve Davis. “We may soon be able to bring high-speed Internet service to many rural customers who lack broadband today. However, it is clear that the effect of the program will be smaller than originally anticipated. In particular, we’re disappointed that after taking more than three years to write this order, the FCC has adopted such a restrictive timeline for the build-out to high-cost areas that we will not be able to build facilities to many of our rural customers. This means that customers in many of the areas that are most difficult to reach will have to wait until the FCC adopts workable auction rules before learning whether or not they will be eligible to receive broadband service.”

CenturyLink Awarded New DHS EINSTEIN 3 Accelerated Task Order

Company to provide cybersecurity services to government agencies

CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) recently was awarded a task order from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Cybersecurity and Communications to provide Intrusion Prevention Security Services, known as EINSTEIN 3 Accelerated (E³A) protections, to U.S. federal civilian agencies.

The one-year task order was issued under a four-year indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract for EINSTEIN cybersecurity services that was previously awarded to CenturyLink in March 2013. DHS’s EINSTEIN program uses network traffic patterns indicating known or suspected malicious cyber activity to help participating federal agencies protect their IT systems.

The new task order includes additional managed security services and cybersecurity capabilities that will be integrated into the current CenturyLink E³A service, which is the first E³A intrusion prevention capability to achieve initial operating capability from DHS. The CenturyLink E³A service is also the first fully operational E³A system that is actively providing cybersecurity services to federal civilian agencies’ end-users.

The EINSTEIN program provides advanced email filtering and web Domain Name System spoofing protections, as well as signature-based intrusion detection, prevention and mitigation services to participating federal agencies under the guidance and oversight of DHS.

EINSTEIN capabilities are provided through a combination of commercial off-the-shelf hardware and software, government-developed software, and commercially available managed security services that are enhanced by DHS-provided information.

By supplying E³A cybersecurity services over its carrier-class network, CenturyLink is able to provide federal government agencies with the information security and reliability they need to carry out their missions.

“CenturyLink is proud to be selected to continue providing EINSTEIN cybersecurity protections to federal agencies,” said Lisa Bruch, CenturyLink Government acting senior vice president and general manager. “We’re excited to support DHS’s mission to provide federal agencies with advanced managed cybersecurity capabilities that offer additional protections to mitigate growing and evolving threats. The ability to share valuable cyber intelligence and information with an expanding list of federal agencies supports active awareness of immediate cyber threats and helps us protect and defend our nation’s federal IT systems.”

Bruch recognized Wray Varley, CenturyLink Government area vice president for advanced programs, and John Cassidy, CenturyLink Government branch director for the cybersecurity division, for their work on this program, and explained that the recent E³A task order award highlights a valuable partnership between CenturyLink Government and DHS. “We continue to work together to develop innovative managed cybersecurity services that are scalable and repeatable, and can be implemented quickly and efficiently by many federal civilian departments and agencies,” she said.

CenturyLink is also a fully approved commercial services provider for the DHS Enhanced Cybersecurity Services (ECS) program, which helps government-approved critical infrastructure entities protect their IT systems from unauthorized access, exploitation and data exfiltration.

CenturyLink is ranked No. 42 on Washington Technology’s 2014 Top 100 list of federal government IT contractors.