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Verizon spectrum deal approved by the DOJ

John Moe Aug 17, 2012

The Department of Justice has signed off on Verizon’s purchase of huge piles of broadcast spectrum from various cable companies. The deal was opposed by other wireless operators as well as plenty of people kinda spooked by how enormously powerful Verizon is about to become. As expected, there were strings attached, specifically having to do with the joint marketing agreement between Verizon and the cable operators that was part of the agreement.

From TG Daily:

It also places a time limit – December 2016 – on a proposed deal whereby Verizon will resell cable companies’ services to customers in areas where Verizon sells DSL Internet service.  It also places time limits on a proposed technology joint ventured.
“By limiting the scope and duration of the commercial agreements among Verizon and the cable companies while at the same time allowing Verizon and T-Mobile to proceed with their spectrum acquisitions, the department has provided the right remedy for competition and consumers,” says Joseph Wayland, acting assistant attorney general in charge of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.

Next up is approval of the deal from the FCC, which is expected.

So. Everyone’s happy, right? NOT AL FRANKEN, the senator from Minnesota, who says the restrictions don’t go far enough and that the deal will hurt competition.

“Without meaningful competition for broadband, the cable companies will be able to charge whatever they want—and drive consumers to purchase expensive bundles of services they don’t want or need in order to get Internet service. The Department of Justice has addressed some of the worst parts of this transaction, but I don’t think it has gone far enough,” he said.

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