Critics Slam SpectrumCo Deal Approval
Say conditions not enough to protect consumers
By Mike Farrell, Multichannel News -- Broadcasting & Cable, 8/16/2012 1:49:01 PMfederal antitrust approval of its $3.9 billion wireless spectrum sale to Verizon Wireless, some public policy groups criticized the deal -- and the conditions agreed to by both parties -- as not serving consumer interests.
In a statement, Public Knowledge president and CEO Gigi Sohn said the agreement conceded that U.S. broadband competition policy has failed.
"The proposed conditions on this transaction attempt to alleviate some of the harms that will arise from a lack of competition, and policymakers deserve credit for trying to make the best of a bad deal," Sohn said in a statement. "However, it is not enough for the anti-competitive cross-selling agreement to be limited in time or scope--it should not happen at all. Similarly, the proposed conditions that attempt to diminish the anticompetitive impact of Verizon and the cable companies' Joint Operating Entity do not hide the fact that the JOE is a vehicle that empowers former competitors to suppress new rivals. When and if Verizon and the cable companies seek permission to continue the JOE in four years the FCC and DoJ must seriously examine how the companies have used the JOE to stifle competition."
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