Competition in Rural America Depends on Enforceable Conditions — Or a Future Unwinding of the Deals
The Rural Telecommunications Group, Inc. (RTG) is appreciative of the time and effort the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has spent reviewing the myriad of complex commercial agreements entered into between Verizon Wireless and the Cable Companies. However, the conditions proposed by DOJ are not enough to prevent anticompetitive behavior by the parties.
The following statements can be attributed to Carri Bennet, RTG’s General Counsel:
“While RTG is heartened to see that DOJ exposed to sunlight the anticompetitive harms posed by the Verizon-Cable cartel, the proposed conditions are not enough to thwart anti-consumer activity by Verizon and the Cable Companies. Early on RTG recognized that the various commercial agreements and spectrum sales between Verizon Wireless and the Cable Companies was one giant heap of lemons. The DOJ’s attempt to make lemonade out of this lemon of a deal, while laudable, remains to be seen. Starting today, the only way that Verizon and the Cable Companies can be kept in check is for DOJ to continuously and relentlessly monitor and enforce the conditions imposed. Over time, should these conditions fail, DOJ must use its authority to modify the Final Judgment or completely unwind the deals so that consumer choice is restored for all Americans, including those in rural markets. Going forward, our nation’s policymakers and legislators need to realize that the only way to guarantee viable competition across the wireless, broadband and cable industry sectors is to prevent deals like this one in the first place rather than trying to impose conditions that are difficult to enforce long term. ”
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
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