Groups ask FCC to block Verizon spectrum deals with cable providers

The deals would concentrate too much wireless spectrum in the hands of one company, say Public Knowledge and other groups

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission must block Verizon Wireless from buying wireless spectrum from cable providers because two proposed deals would concentrate too much spectrum in the hands of one company, a coalition of advocacy groups said.

The deals, which also allow Verizon and the cable firms resell each others' services, "give rise to serious concern that not only will these providers decline to compete further with one another, they will actively collude with one another," the groups said in a Tuesday filing with the FCC.

Two spectrum deals that Verizon announced in December "would fundamentally alter the nature of the telecommunications world in a manner utterly contrary to that intended by the 1996 Telecommunications Act," the groups said in their FCC filing. Congress, in the 1996 law, focused on increasing competition in the telecommunications market.

Among the nine groups filing the petition at the FCC were Public Knowledge, the Media Access Project, the New America Foundation Open Technology Initiative, and the National Consumer Law Center.

"To 'supersize' Verizon Wireless with additional spectrum ... so that the largest wireless operator can better promote the services of the largest incumbent cable operators directly undermines the pro-competitive policies of the 1996 Act and is thus contrary to the public interest," the groups said.

Verizon announced in December a deal to buy underused spectrum licenses covering 259 million U.S. residents from SpectrumCo, a joint venture among Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, for US$3.6 billion.

Later that month, Cox Communications announced plans to sell wireless spectrum licenses covering 28 million U.S. residents to Verizon for $315 million.

In the deals, Verizon and the cable providers agreed to set up joint operating entities to develop new technologies to link voice, video and wireless traffic. The technology that could result would be a new standard controlled by companies that control approximately 40 percent of the wireless market, 40 percent of the residential broadband markets and 40 percent of the residential video market, the groups said in their filing.

Verizon defended the deals.

"We believe the spectrum purchase is in the public interest, and will address the needs of all consumers, putting spectrum to work to meet growing demand," the company said in a statement. The deals are consistent with the FCC's goal of ensuring "that existing spectrum is used by providers who can use it efficiently," the company said.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?