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Sorry, Comcast: Voters say “yes” to city-run broadband in Colorado

Enlarge / Still from an industry-funded ad warning against municipal broadband in Fort Collins, Colorado. (credit: Priorities First Fort Collins)

Voters in Fort Collins, Colorado, yesterday approved a ballot question that authorizes the city to build a broadband network, rejecting a cable and telecom industry campaign against the initiative.

Fort Collins voters said "yes" to a ballot question that gives the city council permission "to establish a telecommunications utility to provide broadband services," The Coloradoan wrote. "Unofficial, partial returns as of 12:42 a.m. showed the measure passing with 57.15 percent of the vote."

The vote doesn't require the city to build a broadband network, but it gives the city council the permission it needs to move forward on the plan if it chooses to do so.

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Another broadband merger: CenturyLink gets FCC approval to buy Level 3

Enlarge / A CenturyLink data center. (credit: CenturyLink)

CenturyLink expects to complete its acquisition of Level 3 by Wednesday this week, as the Federal Communications Commission has given the merger its final approval.

"The FCC's approval of CenturyLink's acquisition of Level 3 is great news and means we now have all the regulatory approvals we need to close the transaction," CenturyLink Senior VP John Jones said in an announcement today. The merger valued at $34 billion previously received approvals from the US Department of Justice and regulatory bodies in more than 20 US states including California and New York.

To preserve competition in local markets, the Justice Department required CenturyLink to divest Level 3 networks in Albuquerque, Boise, and Tucson. CenturyLink will also be required to offer leases of at least 25 years for dark fiber along 30 intercity routes traversing nearly 20 states. Without such provisions, the deal would have caused a "reduction in competition [that] likely would have led to higher prices, lower quality, and reduced access for consumers," Justice Department officials said.

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Hurricane Irma took 7 million cable and wireline subscribers offline

Enlarge / Destroyed power lines hang above a road on September 12, 2017, two days after Hurricane Irma swept through the area. Power outages played a big role in Internet, TV, and phone disruptions. (credit: Getty Images | Spencer Platt )

More than 7 million subscribers to cable or wireline telecom services have lost service due to Hurricane Irma.

"There are at least 7,184,909 (down from 7,597,945 yesterday) subscribers out of service in the affected areas in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia," the Federal Communications Commission reported Tuesday in its latest storm update. These are subscribers to Internet, TV, or phone service or some combination of the three.

In addition to those 7 million, many subscribers in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands lost service. "Since there are widespread power outages in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, the FCC has received reports that large percentages of consumers are without either cable services or wireline service. Companies are actively working to restoring service," the FCC said.

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CenturyLink is being sued by everyone over deceptive billing

CenturyLink lawsuit: worst internet service provider

It's not been a good month for CenturyLink. In the last few weeks, a former sales rep turned whistleblower filed a lawsuit against the company, a video surfaced showing the company's former Chief Diversity Officer going on a homophobic rant, and a class-action lawsuit was filed over deceptive billing practices.

To add serious legal insult to injury, the state of Minnesota is joining the party, and has filed a lawsuit alleging the telecoms company engaged in unfair billing practices.

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Comcast says net neutrality supporters “create hysteria”

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | SweetBabeeJay)

Broadband providers made it clear this week: they wholeheartedly support net neutrality... but they want to overturn those pesky net neutrality rules and replace them with something that isn't so strict.

In fact, the way to truly protect net neutrality is to keep the Internet free of regulations, Internet provider CenturyLink wrote. "Keep the Internet Open and Free—Without Regulation" was the title of CenturyLink's blog post Wednesday.

"Reversing the FCC’s 2015 Internet regulation order will do several positive things: Increase customer choice, spur innovation and investment, [and] create lasting consumer and competitive protections," CenturyLink wrote.

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