MINNEAPOLIS, July 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) announced today that it will accept $35 million from the Federal Communications Commission's Connect America Fund (CAF) to deploy broadband service to 45,000 homes in unserved rural areas in multiple states. In Minnesota, the company will receive nearly $11 million in CAF Phase I funding to bring broadband service to more than 14,000 homes.

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"As a member of Governor Dayton's Task Force on Broadband, I know the impact this investment will have on Minnesota's broadband future," said Duane Ring, CenturyLink's president for the Midwest Region. "CenturyLink has made significant investments in the state, but we still face deployment challenges in some of our unserved, high-cost to build areas."

CenturyLink was eligible for nearly $90 million in CAF Phase I funding. However, restrictions on the use of the CAF 1 funds made further deployment not economical.  CenturyLink has filed a waiver application which, if granted, would allow it to deploy broadband services to approximately 60,000 more homes nationally in high-cost areas where reliable and affordable service is currently not available.

"If the FCC grants our waiver, we will be able to invest potentially $18 million, over the next three years, helping Minnesota reach its broadband goals and bring service to more than 24,000 locations in rural Minnesota," said Ring. "This investment reflects not only federal support, but also a significant matching investment from CenturyLink for unserved markets in Minnesota."

"We are disappointed that restrictions on the use of these funds will not allow us to deploy rural broadband services to the extent we had originally anticipated," said Steve Davis, CenturyLink executive vice president for public policy and government relations.  "However, we share the FCC's overall goal of deploying needed facilities in high-cost areas where reliable and affordable broadband service is not available. Therefore, we will continue working with the FCC to find ways to efficiently and effectively use additional CAF 1 funds to provide broadband services to our rural customers."

CenturyLink's waiver application is currently supported by the Washington Public Service Commission, the Minnesota Department of Commerce and other state agencies.

About CenturyLink
CenturyLink is the third largest telecommunications company in the United States. The company provides broadband, voice, wireless and managed services to consumers and businesses across the country. It also offers advanced entertainment services under the CenturyLink™ Prism™ TV and DIRECTV® brands. In addition, the company provides data, voice and managed services to enterprise, government and wholesale customers in local, national and select international markets through its high-quality advanced fiber optic network and multiple data centers. CenturyLink is recognized as a leader in the network services market by key technology industry analyst firms, and is a global leader in cloud infrastructure and hosted IT solutions for enterprises through Savvis, a CenturyLink company. CenturyLink's customers range from Fortune 500 companies in some of the country's largest cities to families living in rural America. Headquartered in Monroe, La., CenturyLink is an S&P 500 company and is included among the Fortune 500 list of America's largest corporations. For more information, visit www.centurylink.com.

SOURCE CenturyLink, Inc.