FCC hears opposition to Verizon spectrum buy


Ed MarkeyMembers of the CWA and other organizations demonstrated at the FCC as promised. Meanwhile, across the Mall, members of Congress were busy firing off letters to the FCC on the very same topic.

DOJ and Attorney General Eric Holder were also targeted by the letters, which went to all five FCC commissioners. Taking the lead were Ed Markey (D-MA) and John Conyers (D-MI), who noted that valuable spectrum was auctioned off to be developed and used, not the be sold at “foreclosure value” and used potentially as a way to head off competition.

“It was the intent of Congress in the Act to promote competition between telephone and cable companies,” write the lawmakers in the letters to DOJ and the FCC. “To fulfill the purpose and promise of the Act, it is essential that competition and consumer choice continue to animate our nation’s communications policies. … Accordingly, we are writing to urge the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice to examine this proposed transaction for its potential impact on the communications landscape and the goals of the ‘96 Act.”

Barney Frank (D-MA), John W. Olver (D-MA), John F. Tierney (D-MA), Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA) and Niki Tsongas (D-MA) also signed the letter.

Meanwhile, CWA’s Debbie Goldman stated, “At a time of high unemployment, it’s especially important that the FCC consider the jobs impact of this transaction. The deal in its current form would have a devastating impact on communities across the county, as tens of thousands of jobs are lost or not created. Jobs should not be sacrificed so that Verizon and Big Cable can profit from anti-competitive practices.”

One Verizon worker noted that there the cross-promotional part of the agreement between Verizon and various cable companies would dissuade Verizon from expanding its FiOS service into areas that are served by its potential partners should the spectrum deal be allowed to go through.

It was argued that it would cost CWA members jobs, and it would cost consumers choice.