CenturyTel to Buy Qwest in $22.4B Deal

CenturyTel said today it would buy Qwest Communications in a deal valued at $22.4 billion, continuing the consolidation of rural telephone companies and ending speculation of whether Qwest would sell itself. CenturyTel will spend $10.3 billion buying Qwest stock and will assume $11.8 billion in debt.

WindStream Buying Time With Acquisitions

Windstream Corp., a rural telecom operator, has agreed to acquire a fourth company in an effort to beat rivals, buy growth and avoid being telecom roadkill. Spending is only half the battle as consumers opt for wireless services.

Embarq and CenturyTel Merge, Become CenturyLink

logoNewCenturyTel and Embarq today announced the completion of their $11.6 billion merger, which results in a phone company that will serve 7.5 million customers in 33 states. The combined company will now be known as CenturyLink (s CTL) — and the aging copper-based DSL lines it offers to most of its subscribers will certainly act as a link to the previous century for customers of the new entity. As part of the FCC approval for the merger, the agency imposed several conditions on the combined company, presumably to ensure that consolidation doesn’t hurt consumers. Read More about Embarq and CenturyTel Merge, Become CenturyLink

How-To: Tether Your BlackBerry to Your Mac

Blackberry 8800

One of the big, new features of the iPhone is its ability to tether. BlackBerrys have had this ability for a while, so below I have outlined how to tether your BlackBerry with your Mac to use your Internet connection to browse the web with your computer.

Some Things to Note

  • This tutorial is for Leopard.
  • I have successfully tested this with a BlackBerry Bold and a BlackBerry Curve 8900 using the 8800 modem drivers, but it should also work with the BlackBerry 8100, 8700 and 8800.
  • Some service providers have a special tethering plan that you may need to add to your cell phone. (It will work without the tethering packing, but you might get slammed with overage charges if they catch you.)

Read More about How-To: Tether Your BlackBerry to Your Mac

NebuAd Bites the Dust

logoNebuAd, the company that planned to enable Internet Service Providers to offer behavioral advertising based on a person’s web surfing history, has shut its doors, according to MediaPost, which cites court documents. The controversial service, which is akin to Phorm in the UK, had conducted advertising trials with several U.S. ISP including Cable One and CenturyTel (s CTL). When it signed up Charter as a customer last summer, a backlash ensued that led to a congressional investigation into such targeted advertising and the refocusing of the company.

NebuAd was pushing the envelope on behavioral advertising. In doing so, it attempted to fulfill the dreams of ISPs by letting them get into the lucrative online advertising game, but consumers rebelled against the intrusion. NebuAd filed papers noting its demise in the U.S. District Court of San Francisco as part of an ongoing lawsuit brought by consumers angered over the loss of their privacy. Read More about NebuAd Bites the Dust

Shareholder Activists Take On Web Privacy

A group of seven investment bodies, including the New York City Pension Fund, have teamed up in an effort to get major U.S. Internet service providers to detail their privacy practices through the power of the shareholder resolution. As powers go, shareholder resolutions are far more about bringing change through public relations than via any financial coercion, but sometimes they really work.

The project is called the Open Media and Information Companies Initiative, and the goals of its campaign range from protecting free speech online to getting ISPs to document their network management practices for the public. So far the group has filed shareholder resolutions with the following companies: Read More about Shareholder Activists Take On Web Privacy

Overkill Slays Thanks to Clever Cast and Quips

NTV Station Alleged serial killer Henry “The Overkiller” Graham sits on death row partaking of his last meal (a Hot Pocket) and awaiting his just deserts. All too soon, he’s led to the room where he’ll pay for his crimes — by being married off to his groupie-turned-fiancee Carrie… a girl more inclined to swoon over crime scene photos than flowers or chocolates. We’ll soon learn that electrocution may have been the gentler option for Henry than lifelong vows to this bloodthirsty chick. The hot seat in the background serves as both authentic thematic wedding decor and fitting metaphor, because it turns out that Carrie will forgive Henry nearly anything — except his protestations of innocence. And so begins Overkill: A Love Story, a genuinely funny comedy in which the standard “boy meets girl” premise is cleverly skewered — and then beaten, deep-frozen and left for dead in a ditch. (You see, the central character of this saga reputedly likes to dispatch his victims using as many simultaneous methods as possible.) It’s Henry’s heavy-handed M.O. from which the nickname “The Overkiller,” and many of the show’s most entertaining moments, are derived. Future episodes promise to expand upon that as Henry’s appeal is granted and he becomes a free man intent on embarking upon a “normal” life, much to his wife’s dismay. Read More about Overkill Slays Thanks to Clever Cast and Quips

Vid-Biz: Secret Girlfriend, Embarq, TV Sets

Comedy Central Orders Secret Girlfriend Pilot; Freemantle Media’s first-person web show features hot girls talking to the camera; pilot will run just 11 minutes. (Broadcasting & Cable)
CenturyTel to Buy Sprint Spin-off Embarq; deal worth $11.6 billion, combined company would have 400,000 video subscribers. (DSLReports)
TV Prices Set to Drop; amid economic downturn, DisplaySearch predicts prices for 50-inch plasmas will be $899 – $999, 40-inch 1080p LCDs to be $799 – $999. (Bits Blog)
Verizon the 7th Largest U.S. Cable Provider; company says it added 233,000 new FiOS TV subs this past quarter, for a total of 1.6 million subscribers. (Silicon Alley Insider)
LIN TV Testing Interactive TV; select users can use Backchannelmedia’s service to “bookmark” content from the television and forward it to a personal web site. (MediaWeek)
CTV Extends Mobile Content Agreement with Bell Canada; CTV to offer content from shows like The Hills, Chappelle’s Show and The Sarah Silverman Program. (The Hollywood Reporter)
(i)Justine Stars in New Web Show; web star hosting PluggedIn 5, a music video show. (Plugged In)