News tagged: Embarq Now CenturyLink
Earlier this year
Netflix began ranking the quality of video streaming performance for each of the nation's largest ISPs. HD streams have variable bitrate but can potentially top out at around 4800 kilobits per second, and the data provides a bird's eye view by ISP of sustained throughput available from a given ISP over time. Netflix's latest rankings have been released
with a few new wrinkles.
Previous rankings grouped DSL and FTTN/FTTH customers into one group for both AT&T and Verizon, and slower DSL customers dragged faster services down in the rankings. Netflix has now separated these users by delivery technology, and the change dislodges Charter and puts Verizon FiOS in the top spot among all ISPs for streaming quality.
The data, which ranks ISPs over a sixty day span, found that Verizon FiOS consistently delivered streams around 2,500 kbps. Charter still tops all cable operators with streams exceeding 2,400 kbps, though most cable operators remain clumped together in the rankings. Splitting AT&T U-Verse and traditional DSL customers was less beneficial for AT&T, though U-Verse ranked close to most cable competitors.
Companies that performed poorly last time performed poorly once again in the rankings, last place taken by capped and throttled Clearwire services for obvious reasons. Traditional DSL providers like Frontier Communications, Verizon, AT&T, Windstream Communications and CenturyLink all fell on the lower end of the scale due to DSL architecture, though CenturyLink managed the best performance with Frontier and Verizon vying for last place.
Formed out of the union Embarq and CenturyTel, CenturyLink has been growing like wildfire, recently acquiring both Qwest and Savvis. The acquisition of Qwest took a toll on the company's second quarter earnings, their earnings report
stating that the Qwest deal cost the company $200 million more than expected, and drag down earnings for the rest of the year.
Yesterday we reported how
the FCC was getting close to rubber-stamping the Embarq and Centurytel merger, imposing conditions that were little more than window dressing. Today finds the new company (CenturyLink) announcing
that the FCC has indeed approved the merger.
When the FCC allowed AT&T to acquire BellSouth in one of the largest telecom deals ever, the agency enacted a series of wimpy conditions
(pdf). Not only were most of the conditions simply for show, but the FCC made it very clear they really had no intention of enforcing them
. AT&T was supposed to offer naked or 768kbps $10 DSL for two years after the merger, but skirted around the condition's purpose by never advertising the services
, and making it difficult to order them
until people really started complaining. The FCC napped.
After getting the last of all State regulator approval earlier this week
, Embarq and Centurytel have unveiled the new name and logo for the freshly fused company, According to a company press release
, the two companies will now be known as CenturyLink. Once the company receives approval from the FCC (a given), the freshly fused company will have 7.5 million access lines, more than two million broadband customers and more than 400,000 video subscribers across thirty three states. The $11.6 billion deal is at the heart of an interesting new rush toward rural telephone company consolidation
Last October, the seventh largest ILEC (Centurytel) acquired the fourth largest (Embarq) in a deal estimated to be worth $11.6 billion. Telecompetitor
directs our attention to a CenturyTel press release
that notes California, Oregon, and Virginia have approved the deal. That leaves just two of the thirty three States the company does business in who've yet to approve the deal. The freshly fused company would have 7.5 million access lines, more than two million broadband customers and more than 400,000 video subscribers.
The city of Wilson, North Carolina launched a $28 million municipal broadband operation named Greenlight
last year, offering symmetrical
speeds up to 100Mbps -- far surpassing the best local incumbents Embarq and Time Warner Cable have to offer. Embarq and Time Warner Cable did what any carrier in a government-protected duopoly would do: they began a several year campaign to lobby state legislators to not only pass laws that would effectively cripple or ban such operations, but also prohibit this community from getting access to broadband stimulus funds
. In response, local city officials have launched a new website
arguing against the bills. This IndyWeek
report on the Wilson network is a must read, and notes the city went first to Time Warner and Embarq to build the network, but they refused.
Last October, the seventh largest ILEC (Centurytel) acquired the fourth largest (Embarq) in a deal estimated to be worth $11.6 billion. According to a Centurytel press release
, regulators in Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska and Ohio have approved the deal, bringing it one step closer to completion. According to Embarq, the combined company will operate in 33 states, 18 of which don't require regulatory approval for the merger. The combined company will have 7.7 million access lines, 2 million broadband customers and more than 400,000 video subscribers.
DSL provider CenturyTel (see our user reviews
), who last year acquired Sprint spinoff Embarq in an $5.8 billion dollar deal, says they'll be using LTE technology instead of DSL
to deliver broadband service to some rural customers. The first deployments will occur sometime next year in limited areas, according to CenturyTel CEO Glen Post. "It would be 2010 before there would be any significant dollars" spent on an LTE rollout," says Post. "And even then we'll roll out a few markets and then we'll enter (other markets) on a selective basis as we prove success of the technology roll-out." CenturyTel owns enough spectrum to cover about 53% of their service area.
Back in November, NebuAD and several of the ISPs who were doing business with them (Embarq, WOW, Centurytel and Cable One) were sued
over their plan to sell subscriber browsing histories without giving customers a functional opt-out mechanism. As we've stated in the past, NebuAD's system opted users out of receiving the system's targeted ads, but it didn't opt them out of data collection and sales
According to some discussion among Embarq customers in our forums
, the nation's fourth largest telco has dropped the price of their 10Mbps/896kbps ADSL2+ package by $10. The tier
was previously $64.95 stand alone, and $54.95 if bundled with certain voice packages.
Embarq has announced
that they'll be returning to those ancient days of yesteryear, where customers were greeted by a live human voice when they called the phone company to report a problem with service. Kansas-based Embarq says that calls during business hours to speak with a customer service representative will now be greeted by a live person instead of the usual automated system most companies use today. This, says Embarq says this is only a trial to see if customers really
prefer talking to a live human:
"Customer surveys show that consumers are dissatisfied with automated customer care, so we are conducting this trial to see if our customers agree." As part of a nationwide trial, the EMBARQ representatives answering the phone calls are located in the company's North Carolina office and not outsourced overseas. They will greet customers to find out their question or concern and then direct them to the appropriate person.
The entire trial could be moot, given that Embarq was recently acquired
by Centurytel for $5.8 billion. The new, larger company, with investors to please, may decide that the costs of live, domestic human support are too high, returning you to the phone navigation mazes consumers know and love.
Centurytel recently acquired
Sprint spinoff Embarq in an $5.8 billion dollar deal, though filings indicate
that Embarq rejected a higher offer. CenturyTel’s offer valued Embarq at $40.42 per share, a 36% premium, while the other mystery bidder offered $40.86, a 37% premium.
This week the seventh largest ILEC (Centurytel) acquired the fourth largest (Embarq) in a deal estimated to be worth $11.6 billion
. Users in our Embarq forum
are busy trying to figure out what they can expect once the acquisition takes place, after which they'll be customers of a new company with a new name.
Sprint spinoff Embarq currently only offers fiber to the premises (FTTP) to 129 developments (22,000 homes), because new developments (aka "greenfield" deployments) offers the telco the maximum return on ther investment. But according to company comments at a FTTH council meeting today, the telco could begin offering the service to more areas, and may ultimately jump into the TV business like their bigger telco brothers. story continues..
Sprint spinoff Embarq has announced that the company will be laying off around 1,000 employees by the end of the year
. The company says they'll be offering "voluntary separation" packages to about 500 to 700 workers, and terminating roughly another 300 contract workers. The job cuts are primarily focused on Embarq’s network services unit, which includes installation and repair technicians. The company has around 18,000 workers. Managers and supervisors will be given first crack at the voluntary severance packages, which include two weeks of pay for every year worked.
In an effort to improve customer satisfaction, Embarq has announced
the "enhancement" of a support hotline for particularly annoyed customers. Customers who didn't get the help they needed from the general consumer help line have always been able to call the company's Consumer Affairs Hotline at 800-877-3345, but now the company promises they'll get working on a resolution within 24 hours. "If we treat our customers as our best friends, we build customers' trust and loyalty," says company spokesperson Dana Chase, who insists she wants to be really annoyed customers' "BFF" (best friend forever) in the company press release. If customers are really
angry, they may get a friendship pin and/or bracelet after gym class.
PC Magazine story continues..
is offering up their annual survey of the best and worst tech support across industries. In addition to computer and media hardware support, they also key in on the best tech support among both ISPs
and VoIP providers
Earlier this week Embarq responded
While Charter recently got all the bad PR
for their decision to sell your browsing data to NebuAD, they certainly weren't the only ISP tinkering with the technology. Congress now appears to be looking into Embarq's recent NebuAD trial, sending the company a letter
asking them precise details about the trial, including how many customers were impacted, in which markets the trial was conducted, and just how those customers were informed.
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