Really. Honestly. No kidding...
The New York Times reports that CenturyTel will buy Qwest, the western Bell company for 10.6 in a stock swap deal announced today.
The combination would have about 18 million phone lines serving customers in 37 states, but would still be dwarfed by AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. It would be based at CenturyTel's headquarters in Monroe, La., rather than in Denver, where Qwest is based.
The number of landlines in the U.S. shrinks by about 10 percent per year as consumers chose to rely on their wireless phones or service from cable companies. The fourth-largest provider of landline phone service in the country, by number of subscribers, is now cable company Comcast Corp.
Official LPF reaction: Wowser. This new company will create a national rural wireline carrier. It may well have the largest footprint in terms of square miles in the country.