The internet company that powers Netflix and Google just got acquired

Two of the biggest providers of internet pipes are coming together in a massive deal in the world of the internet’s infrastructure, with CenturyLink having snapped up Level 3 Communications in a $34 billion (around £28 billion, AU$45 billion) cash and stock deal.

Level 3 operates not just in the US but also Western Europe and Asia, and it pipes the likes of Netflix and Apple’s media content, plus Google’s traffic, across the internet. The deal is expected to close by the end of the third quarter next year, subject to the usual regulatory approval, and CenturyLink shareholders will then own 51% of the outfit.

Combining with this other internet giant will increase the size of CenturyLink’s network by some 200,000 miles of fibre, around a sixth of which will be subsea connections linking up multiple continents around the globe.

The addition of Level 3’s network will mean coverage across over 60 countries for the new operation, and CenturyLink noted that this will bring major benefits to its plentiful enterprise customer base.

Speeding ahead  

And the coming together will mean greater opportunities to further invest in broadband infrastructure, which will in the end mean faster connections for consumers and small businesses alike.

Glen Post, CEO and president of CenturyLink, commented: "The digital economy relies on broadband connectivity, and together with Level 3 we will have one of the most robust fibre network and high-speed data services companies in the world.”

He added: "This transaction furthers our commitment to providing our customers with the network to improve their lives and strengthen their businesses. It is this focus on providing fibre connectivity that will continue to distinguish CenturyLink from our competitors.”

So, smoother Netflix streaming for all is on the cards? Well, we can certainly hope that this will have a generally positive impact in all sorts of online spheres, so some should feel the benefit eventually, even if it’s only in keeping abreast of increasingly demanding streaming needs in terms of bandwidth.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).