Interest Groups Opposed Deal as Proposed

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2012-08-23 Print this article Print

The spectrum sale and the concurrent commercial agreements were strongly opposed by a number of public interest groups concerned that the result would be monopolies on broadband, and the elimination of broadband competition. Currently, Verizon provides DSL service to its customers and provides the FiOS fiber broadband service in some areas of the United States.

The Communications Workers of America, the union that represents many of Verizon's landline workers, was worried that the deal would mean the loss of jobs for its members. "The FCC's decision allowing Big Cable to virtually monopolize wireline and video connections to millions of homes will lead to job loss and hit consumers with higher prices," said CWA spokesman Chuck Porcari in a prepared statement. "It will slam the door on our country's high speed future because it has destroyed any incentive for Verizon to continue the build out of its high speed FiOS network."

"It is clearly an example of the FCC, just as the Department of Justice did last week, acting on behalf of corporate interests, not the public interest and clearly not jobs," Porcari added. He noted that the conditions contained in the DoJ consent decree and included in the FCC order were "weak."

The Alliance for Broadband Competition, which had previously opposed the Verizon–cable spectrum deal, was somewhat more satisfied with the conditions placed on the sale. "Our alliance of competitive carriers, trade associations, public interest groups, and other entities continue to have deep concerns about the future of the competitive communications landscape," an Alliance spokesperson said in a statement distributed to the press. "While the FCC's Order does not go far enough to ensure a competitive landscape, we are pleased that the Order addresses some of the concerns that we have raised with the Commission over the past several months."

T-Mobile CEO Jim Alling expressed his company's satisfaction with the deal in an email to eWEEK. "T-Mobile is delighted that the Federal Communications Commission has approved our AWS (Advanced Wireless Service) spectrum transaction with Verizon and we applaud Chairman Genachowski, the other Commissioners, and the FCC staff for their leadership and support on this matter," Alling said. "The combination of these new spectrum resources with our existing assets will add capacity and enhance performance of the T-Mobile network in many areas of the country as we turn on LTE services in 2013 to meet the growing consumer demand for mobile broadband services."

Verizon Wireless President and CEO Dan Mead provided a brief prepared statement to the press saying, "This purchase represents a milestone in the industry and we appreciate the FCC's diligent work to review and approve the transaction," Mead's statement said.  "We will work aggressively to ensure that we put this previously unused spectrum to use quickly to benefit customers." Mead did not respond to eWEEK's request for additional comment.

The spectrum sale, which an FCC spokesperson said was "the most complex transaction ever reviewed by the Commission," was first announced in December 2011, pending DoJ and FCC review.

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel