STATEMENT: OTI on the FCC's Approval of Verizon-Cable Deal

Published:   August 23, 2012

Washington, DC — Today, the Federal Communications Commission officially approved Verizon’s acquisition of $3.9 billion in prime AWS spectrum licenses from a consortium of cable companies, as well as agreements permitting the companies to cross-market each other’s products and jointly develop new technologies. 

Michael Calabrese, director of the Wireless Future Project at the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute (OTI), issued the following statement:
 
"While the FCC did negotiate some beneficial conditions, we are disappointed by the Commission’s failure to go beyond voluntary conditions and impose affirmative steps to promote competition, spectrum access and innovation. OTI had urged the Commission to condition the spectrum licenses to ensure that Verizon will not have exclusive or preferential access to its cable partners’ Wi-Fi networks.
 
In addition, OTI called for a ‘use it or share it’ license condition, which would require Verizon to make its spectrum available for use by other operators in any local area where it does not build out and serve a substantial majority of the population within three years.  This condition would have expanded the modest buildout commitments from Verizon, by encouraging use and build-out of mobile and wireless broadband by competitive providers, particularly in underserved rural America, rather than the spectrum likely going unused.
 
Without these conditions, the risk of ‘spectrum squatting’ by Verizon remains significant and an opportunity is lost to increase rather than decrease deployment and competition in rural areas across the country."
 
To speak with Michael Calabrese or another New America expert on this topic, please contact Clara Hogan.