Public Knowledge is challenging Verizon and cable companies'
confidentiality claims surrounding their proposed joint research and
development venture on integrating wired and wireless service.
That proposed R&D joint operating entity (JOE) is an
element of a larger deal to sell cable operator-owned wireless spectrum
(SpectrumCo. holdings plus Cox) to Verizon for $3.9 billion. That deal also
involved cross-marketing agreements in which Verizon and the operators will
promote each other's respective services.
In a filing at the FCC, Public Knowledge (PK) asked the FCC
to make public the details of that venture's structure and governance, saying
those details are critical to assessing the public interest impacts,
"understanding the connections between the Applicants' spectrum,
marketing, resale, and JOE agreements, and determining whether the JOE will
establish the basis for a future cartel between its members."
PK argues that information has been over-classified by the
applicants and is neither a trade secret nor commercially confidential
information, and so does not warrant exemptions from mandatory disclosure.
"Applicants Verizon Wireless and SpectrumCo have
unjustifiably designated portions of their Joint Operating Entity ("JOE")
Agreement as highly confidential," they tell the FCC. "Those portions
are neither highly confidential nor even confidential, and so must be
resubmitted in this proceeding with non-confidential portions unredacted and
available for public inspection."
Verizon had no comment on the PK effort. Comcast was not
available for comment at press time.