Dems Outline Key Topics for FCC Oversight Hearing - Broadcasting & Cable

Dems Outline Key Topics for FCC Oversight Hearing

Spectrum auctions, merger reviews, Verizon–SpectrumCo and Comcast–NBCU deal conditions all on list
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House Energy & Commerce Committee staffers have signaled
what issues they think could or should come up at Tuesday's FCC oversight
hearing and the Verizon-SpectrumCo deal was high on the list.

In a memo to Democratic members, the staffers listed the
"key issues" before the five FCC commissioners slated to testify at
the hearing. The first was the spectrum incentive auction legislation that will
fund the creation of an interoperable public safety network with proceeds from
auctioned spectrum reclaimed from broadcasters.

The second item is merger reviews, with the Verizon-cable
transaction leading the list -- the FCC is vetting Verizon's bid to pay $3.9
billion to cable operators Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox and Bright House for
advanced wireless spectrum.

The memo does not say what the FCC should do, instead simply
saying that competitors and public interest groups have concerns about the
deal, associated marketing agreements, and a separate, though contingent deal,
for Verizon to trade some spectrum, including SpectrumCo spectrum, to T-Mobile.

Also on the list of key issues are:

The FCC's proposal to allow use of satellite spectrum
authorizations for terrestrial wireless broadband, which is what Dish wants to
do with its satellite spectrum and what LightSquared got a waiver to do before
GPS interference issues prompted the FCC to put the kibosh on that effort.

Recent FCC actions related to the Comcast-NBCU deal
conditions, specifically its finding that Comcast has not complied with a non-neighborhooding
condition when it came to Bloomberg TV, and a consent decree with Comcast over
marketing of low-cost, stand-alone broadband.

The above-mentioned cratering of the LightSquared plan to
wholesale wireless broadband service using its satellite spectrum.

Issues also on the docket, according to the Dems -- there is
no guarantee they will all make it, particularly since the Republicans are
running the meeting -- include Universal Service Fund and intercarrier
compensation reform, reform of the special access market for telecom services,
the FCC's open internet rules currently being challenged in court, data caps,
media ownership rules, indecency and online political files disclosures.

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