Top House Energy & Commerce Committee Democrats have
renewed their call for a hearing into the Verizon-SpectrumCo wireless spectrum
The FCC and DOJ are currently vetting Verizon's proposed
$3.9 billion purchase of spectrum from Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox and
According to a copy of the letter, ranking Commerce
Committee Democrat Henry Waxman (Calif.) and Communications Subcommittee
ranking member Anna Eshoo, also from California, pointed out to their
respective chairs that it has been almost two months since they wrote the first
time asking for a hearing on the deal and joint marketing agreements.
"We believe it is important that members of the
Communications and Technology Subcommittee have an opportunity to hear from key
In their first letter, the pair cited Subcommittee Chairman
Greg Walden's avowed plan for the committee to engage in a "close
review" of spectrum issues -- he outlined that as one of his priorities
for the committee -- and said that no such examination would be complete
without an examination of the Verizon deal, which the FCC is currently vetting.
They have not taken a position on the deal, but said in that
first letter that it was important to hear testimony and consider the policy
implications of the transaction, which Verizon says will free up unused
spectrum for the benefit of consumers and critics say will increase
concentration and decrease competition among cable and wireless companies.
Verizon has offered $3.9 billion to the cable operators, who
bought that AWS spectrum at auction back in 2006 but now say there is not a
business case to build a stand-alone service. The deal includes marketing
arrangements that allow those cable ops to sell Verizon wireless as part of
their triple and quadruple-play bundles and to work together on R&D
projects to integrate wired and wireless service.
A House Energy & Commerce Committee spokesperson was not
available for comment.