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Level 3 Sheds Midwest Fiber Optic Network

Level 3 Communications said it is selling Midwest Fiber Optic Network (MFON) to CenturyTel for close to $17 million in cash.

The long-haul backbone provider of Internet services recently acquired MFON, a regional communications network, as part of an acquisition deal with managed hosting outfit Genuity.

Although MFON currently generates approximately $1.5 million a month in revenue, one key issue for its former owner is the geography and architecture of the system: they don not not offer Level 3 network synergies, the companies said.

Level 3 said CenturyTel would purchase the stand-alone system, which serves as a regional backbone for a number of carriers, including CenturyTel itself in Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois.

Level 3 operates one of the largest Internet backbones in the world, and is also one of the largest providers of wholesale dial-up service to ISPs in North America and is the primary provider of Internet connectivity for millions of broadband subscribers, through its cable and DSL partners. The company offers a wide range of communications services over its 22,500-mile broadband fiber optic network including Internet Protocol services, broadband transport, colocation services, and patented Softswitch-based managed modem and voice services.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the fourth quarter of 2003. Daniels & Associates, the Denver-based media and telecommunications mergers and acquisitions specialist, served as financial advisor to Level 3 on this transaction.