Washington, DC — Michael Calabrese, director of the Wireless Future Project at the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, released the following statement this afternoon in reaction to the Justice Department’s conditional approval of the Verizon-Spectrum Co deal. The centerpiece of the deal is Verizon’s acquisition of $3.9 billion in prime AWS spectrum licenses from four cable companies: Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House, and Cox.
“While the Justice Department’s conditional approval of the Verizon/SpectrumCo deal addresses the negative impact to wireline competition, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) now has the responsibility to impose conditions to mitigate the harm to wireless competition.
If the FCC takes competition seriously, it will condition the spectrum licenses acquired by Verizon to ensure non-discriminatory roaming by other providers both on Verizon’s AWS spectrum and on its cable partners’ Wi-Fi offload network. Verizon should not be allowed to combine preferential access to the cable industry Wi-Fi network with its mobile broadband service using AWS spectrum.
The FCC also should add a ‘use it or share it’ license condition to the modest buildout requirements agreed to by Verizon, allowing AWS spectrum to be used at least temporarily by other providers in small town and rural America where Verizon will not be required to build out even after seven years, and perhaps never.”
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