CenturyLink, DOJ Settle Level 3 Condition Violation

The Justice Department and broadband/telecom company CenturyLink have settled allegations that the company violated the conditions of its acquisition of Level 3. 

Specifically, DOJ said CenturyLink had promised not to solicit customers that had switched to assets divested as part of the deal. DOJ said that on more than 70 occasions CenturyLink tried to woo back customers who had chosen to switch to the divestiture buyer in Boise City-Nampa, Idaho. 

Related: CenturyLink Extends Connectivity Pledge 

"When a defendant violates the terms of a settlement decree, it must be held accountable to its obligations to the department and the American consumer,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, who heads the antitrust division. “Today’s motion to amend the Final Judgment ensures that consumers get the benefit of competition otherwise lost by CenturyLink’s acquisition of Level 3 Communications. I also commend CenturyLink for its cooperation in resolving the department’s concerns.” 

CenturyLink did not dispute the allegations and agreed to: 

1. "extend the non-solicitation period by two years for the Boise MSA; 

2. "the appointment of an independent monitoring trustee; and

3. "pay the United States to defray the costs of the department’s investigation of CenturyLink’s violations of the court order."

DOJ has submitted that amended settlement to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, which will have to sign off on the settlement for it to become official. 

CenturyLink also agreed to abide by four new provisions in antitrust settlements that make them easier for the Antitrust Division to enforce.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.