Verizon-Cable Deal on the Cusp of Completion

Free Press urges FCC and Congress to contend with new broadband monopoly
Contact Info: 

Jenn Ettinger, 202-265-1490 ext. 35

WASHINGTON –  On Thursday, the Department of Justice announced that it would allow Verizon’s deals to buy spectrum from a consortium of the nation's largest cable companies to move forward. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski also announced he would circulate an order approving the deal to the other four commissioners for a vote.

In its consent decree, the DoJ placed limits on Verizon and SpectrumCo’s deals to cross-market each other’s services.

Free Press Policy Adviser Joel Kelsey made the following statement:

“The DoJ and FCC may have mitigated some of the most immediate consumer harms this deal would have caused, but that's not the end of the story. Whatever has been done to address the worst parts of this agreement, it’s clear now that Congress and the FCC still need to confront the monopoly environment most consumers now face when choosing broadband service. 

“Limiting the joint-marketing agreements between Verizon and the cable companies to four years is a start. But this concession doesn't deal with the deep structural problems in the market for at-home broadband service. There is still no meaningful competition — and that will mean higher prices for everyone.

"The swap of spectrum with T-Mobile that Verizon agreed to in order to get this deal done is a good outcome that will help provide consumers with a lower-price quality alternative to Verizon and AT&T. But that improvement doesn't erase all the problems with this deal.

“Throughout this process, Verizon has been untruthful with its claims that it faces a spectrum crunch. We’ve pointed out volumes of internal Verizon documents that clearly indicated Verizon doesn’t need much of the spectrum it is getting in these deals.

“In particular, the buildout requirements Verizon has suggested lay bare the misleading and untruthful public pleas of spectrum poverty by the company. The FCC should go further in requiring Verizon to bring this spectrum online sooner to serve all Americans, including those in rural areas served by small carriers who could put these airwaves to better use.”