Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) have written letters to the leaders of the FCC and the Department of Justice asking them to put the brakes on Verizon’s proposed acquisition of spectrum from a consortium of cable companies.
The letters went to Attorney General Eric Holder and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.
They said the deal would in particular cost thousands of jobs in Baltimore alone, and would also take away Verizon’s motivation to bring its FiOS MVPD service to the city, denying residents of the benefits of increased competition in that field.
They noted that while city residents would remain on the wrong side of the digital divide, the fact is that FiOS has already gone to the trouble of bringing its FiOS service to the city’s wealthier suburbs.
“Most significantly, the joint marketing agreements appear to limit Verizon’s incentive to invest in its all-fiber FiOS network, potentially depriving consumers of a competitive alternative to cable’s broadband and videoservices,” Senators Mikulski and Cardin wrote. “People of color and lower-income households in urban and rural parts of Maryland will be disproportionately affected by the decreased incentives to invest in continued ‘build-out’ of the FiOS network.”
“As you review the proposed Verizon/cable company transaction, we encourage you to consider most carefully the comments the FCC and DOJ have received raising concern about the transaction’s potential impact on competition, consumers, and jobs,” they wrote. “We hope that you will endeavor to protect the public interest in cross-platform competition that drives lower prices and higher quality services and ensures that all Americans – including residents and businesses in Baltimore and across the rest of Maryland – have access to the most advanced communications technologies and services at affordable prices.”
CWA workers have also been protesting the deal, saying it should not be allowed to go forward without significant conditions attached.