Lawmakers tell FCC that CenturyLink-Qwest merger will benefit rural America

A bipartisan group of 21 House members wrote the Federal Communications Commission on Friday hailing the potential benefits of the merger between CenturyLink and Qwest Communications, which they said would help bring technology services to the most rural regions of the country.

"We believe this merger will benefit consumers in rural America by enhancing the new company's ability to invest in much-needed broadband infrastructure and expand its offerings of innovative services," the letter said. "Continued investment in broadband networks in rural areas will enhance the economic competitiveness of each community served."

The group encouraged "timely consideration" of the companies' application. The merger has won the approval of the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission. 

The letter included House Communications Subcommittee leaders Reps. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) and Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), as well as Reps. Lee Terry (R-Neb.), Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), Betsy Markey (D-Colo.), and others. Many of the signatories come from rural districts. 

The companies decided to combine in April.