CenturyLink-Level 3 deal moving ahead in California, but not until October

8 September 2017 by Steve Blum
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CenturyLink will be allowed to buy Level 3 Communications, under the terms of a settlement reached in June with some of the organisations that challenged the deal, if the California Public Utilities Commission endorses a proposed decision posted this morning by a CPUC administrative law judge.

If the usual process is followed, commissioners will make the final decision at their 12 October 2017 meeting, or a later meeting if there’s significant disagreement amongst them. It’s theoretically possible that a vote could be taken at their 28 September 2017 meeting, but only in the sense that it’s theoretically possible for a tornado to blow through a junkyard and produce a fully functional iPhone. And even if it did, Apple’s lawyers would crush it, claiming patent infringement by the tornado. So expect a final decision in October, not September.

The proposed decision also throws out a challenge to the settlement by the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF)…

This Settlement involves compromises of parties’ preferred outcomes. The fact that multiple parties, with divergent interests, reached a mutually acceptable compromise, however, provides evidence that the Settlement is reasonable in light of the record. Even though CETF does not join in the Settlement, the Settling Parties still include the Joint Consumer Groups representing consumer interests. The Settlement addresses the Joint Consumer Groups’’ concerns by providing discrete benefits to California consumers including,, among other things, improved service quality, funding for facility expansion and certainty for enterprise and wholesale customers with existing contracts.

There’s no mention of Telnyx LLC in the proposed decision. Telnyx jumped into the CPUC’s review of the deal at the last minute, claiming that Level 3 was cutting off wholesale VoIP services to independent service providers. Although ALJ Regina DeAngelis gave Telnyx permission to participate in the proceeding, she threw out their protest, because it wasn’t properly filed. Although Telnyx can continue to participate, it has nothing of substance on the table.

Proposed decision approving CenturyLink-Level 3 transaction, 8 September 2017