The following statement is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge:
“The Verizon Wireless purchase of Alltel raises serious questions for consumers that will have to be addressed through antitrust analysis, and through public-interest conditions by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
“If the deal goes through, two companies, Verizon and AT&T, will control about 150 million of the 260 million wireless customers in the U.S. Verizon will have about 80 million alone. With Sprint in a weakened condition, this deal will speed the unfortunate trend of giving consumers fewer, rather than more, choices in telecommunications services, while giving a few companies more control over the lives of consumers.
“Should the Justice Department approve, the FCC should impose conditions that would require that the combined network be open to outside applications and devices, extending the policy the Commission started in the recent spectrum auctions. The Commission should also make clear that, as Public Knowledge asked in our pending complaint against Verizon, text messaging is protected by the Communications Act, and that actions such as Verizon's denial of text-messaging short codes to NARAL will not be permitted.”
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