FCC Expected to OK Deal With Conditions

Also expected to propose disallowing Verizon to sell Comcast video services where it currently has built out its FiOS service
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At press time, Verizon/SpectrumCo watchers were looking for the FCC to circulate an order on Verizon’s proposed purchase of wireless spectrum from major cable operators.

The FCC is expected to OK the deal with conditions, most likely related to the associated crossmarketing agreements that allow Verizon and Comcast to sell each other’s services, as well as possible spectrum spinoffs in concentrated markets. The commission is also expected to propose disallowing Verizon to sell Comcast video services where it currently has built out its FiOS service.

The deal is not a merger, so it has that going for it in terms of FCC approval. In addition, it frees up 4G wireless spectrum for almost immediate use, creating the sort of secondary market deal that will get the spectrum into use far more quickly than, say, the years-long process of freeing it up from broadcasters. Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox and Bright House bought the spectrum at an FCC auction in 2006, but they concluded there was not a business case for building out a competing wireless broadband network.

It also helps that Verizon is spinning off some cable spectrum to T-Mobile, reducing the number of markets where its concentration of spectrum holdings would raise red flags with the FCC.

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