Public Knowledge Statement On Verizon/Cable Filing
Public Knowledge Statement On Verizon/Cable Filing
Public Knowledge Statement On Verizon/Cable Filing

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    Verizon and its cable partners defended
    their spectrum-purchase deal and accompanying cross-marketing arrangements in a
    filing late Friday with the FCC.

    The following is attributed to Harold Feld,
    legal director of Public Knowledge:

    “The argument from Comcast and
    partners that the FCC should stay out of the joint marketing deals with the
    country’s largest cellular company is, frankly, absurd.  The cross-marketing deals are as much a
    part of this deal as the spectrum — announced together in the same release,
    offered to other cable companies. 

    “As we explained to the FCC earlier,
    the side agreements create a real danger that our communications markets will
    move from competition to collusion to cartel.  Rather than address these concerns, Verizon and its cable
    partners continue to withhold key parts of the agreements while insisting that
    the FCC has no role in approving them.

    “When Comcast bought NBC-Universal, it
    refused to talk about online video until regulators took a firm stand. Comcast,
    Verizon and the other cable partners now resort to the same playbook by
    ignoring the issue of its anti-competitive agreements in the hope regulators
    will let them slip by. Particularly offensive is the suggestion by Verizon and
    the cable companies that the FCC simply take a pass on these competitive
    concerns because the Department of Justice can do the job of analyzing these
    agreements so much better.

    “The FCC can choose concentration, or
    it can choose competition.  It
    should choose to make the wireless and broadband industries more competitive,
    not less.

    “While putting the spectrum the cable
    companies failed to develop to use for the public is a good idea, making the
    largest carrier stronger is not. 
    The deal will make it more difficult for consumers to find new options
    for cellphone carriers as it will make it more difficult for existing companies
    to get stronger or for new companies to enter the field.  We also note that Verizon has said for
    months that it didn’t need new spectrum, yet here it is asking to buy $3
    billion worth from the cable companies.