Seek DOJ/FCC Scrutiny of Verizon/Cable Pact
The Rural Telecommunications Group, together with numerous wireless and wireline service providers and consumer advocacy groups, have announced the formation of the Alliance for Broadband Competition (“Alliance”). The formation of the Alliance is a direct response to the multi-faceted (and up until now relatively unknown) ventures entered into between Verizon Wireless, and some of the nation’s largest cable companies including Comcast, Time Warner, Cox and Bright House Networks. Verizon and the participating cable companies have entered into a myriad of transactions that, if consummated, will forever change the competitive landscape of the broadband services marketplace and radically reduce consumer choice in the process.
Not only are the cable companies selling prized mobile wireless spectrum to Verizon – spectrum that will give Verizon control of at least 1/3 of all comparable spectrum in this country – but they are also entering into reseller, agency and joint-venture relationships that will impact how all Americans access broadband. To this point, the Alliance has prepared summaries of how the Verizon-cable transactions will hinder competition and debilitate consumers with respect to wireless access, wireline access, and WiFi, as well as the threats posed by excessive spectrum concentration, the creation of patents pertaining to broadband access, and the manner in which Internet and Video content can be viewed, if at all, by American consumers.
RTG and the Alliance have recognized the threat posed by Verizon and the Cable Companies and together they have educated the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission on the dangers inherent in a pact of this size. But the real impact will be felt by the everyday consumer, including those living and traveling to rural America – so RTG implores all Americans who value choice to contact their elected representatives in Congress and call on them for immediate hearings on these transactions.
“Verizon and the cable companies are truly creating an Axis of Broadband Power that threatens competition and consumer choice to their very core,” said Carri Bennet, RTG’s General Counsel. “Very quietly, this Axis has entered into complex transactions that will forever change how consumers access voice, Internet and video service, which companies these consumers will purchase those services from, and at the end of the day, what those services will cost. Tens of millions of Americans, including those in rural America, are now in the cross-hairs and the Alliance is ringing the warning bell calling for a stop to the onslaught before it is too late.”
About RTG – Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Rural Telecommunications Group, Inc. (RTG) is a trade association representing rural wireless carriers who each serve less than 100,000 subscribers. RTG’s members have joined together to speed delivery of new, efficient and innovative telecommunications technologies to remote and underserved communities. ruraltelecomgroup.org @RTGwireless