Public Knowledge was one of a group of
organizations and companies which yesterday asked the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) to require Verizon and Comcast to file more details about
their proposed new business arrangements.
The letter is here.
Verizon has agreed to pay $3.6 billion to
several cable companies, led by Comcast, for spectrum those companies hold but
have not developed. In addition, there
are agreements for Verizon to market cable products and to work together to
develop new technology.
According to the letter, “The applications, however,
demonstrate that this spectrum transfer is part of a larger business
transaction between actual and potential competitors. Without the ability to
review the larger transaction in its entirety, it is impossible to assess
whether there will be public interest harms associated with this proposed
The letter noted that the “brief
explanations of the several agreements indicate that major communications
companies, which directly compete against one another in the provision of a
variety of services to consumers and businesses, have now formed cooperative
alliances that could affect, in addition to the market for mobile wireless
services, the provision of multichannel video programming and broadband
services, including dedicated private lines and high-speed Internet access.”
In addition to PK, others signing the letter are: C-Spire, DirecTV, NTELOS, Sprint, T-Mobile,
Consumer Federation of America, Media Access Project and New America Foundation.