While the cable industry was patting itself on the back
after receiving federal
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