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Verizon Spectrum Debate Escalates

The Verizon Wireless deal with four major cable operators is winding down, and the commenting fury leads off today's cable and broadband news.

  • Thirty-two members of the U.S. House of Representatives are still voicing doubts about cable companies selling wireless spectrum to Verizon. They sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Department of Justice on Monday, saying the proposed marketing agreements between Verizon and the cable operators would end up stifling competition in broadband buildouts, according to Tuesday afternoon reports by CED and others. (What worries them is not the spectrum transfer itself, but the cozy Verizon-cable friendship that's emerging.)

  • Verizon, for its part, contends it's already shown that the deal would serve the public interest. Its final comments to the FCC (the comment period closed on Tuesday) reiterated the claim that the spectrum sale -- along with a proposed spectrum swap with T-Mobile US Inc. -- is the best way to get the spectrum into active use. The $3.6 billion deal is on the verge of being approved by the FCC but could then be scrutinized by the DOJ's antitrust division.

  • Mobile devices are catching up set-top boxes as the TV service device of choice, believes IHS iSuppli . According to the company's latest projections, by 2015 PCs, smartphones and tablets will make up 49 percent of all devices receiving TV services from 43 of the largest global pay TV operators that offer multi-screen services, up from just 18 percent this year. Set-top boxes will decline to 51 percent of pay-TV operator devices, down from 82 percent this year, the analyst firm predicts.

  • Private equity firms and rival UPC Broadband are potential bidders for Poland's third cable operator Multimedia Polska, which has been valued at €700 million (US$859 million), reports Reuters.

  • Norwegian cable operator Get is set to be put up for sale by its private equity owners for €1 billion ($1.23 billion), according to this Reuters report.

    — The Staff, Light Reading

  • AESerm 12/5/2012 | 5:28:09 PM
    re: Verizon Spectrum Debate Escalates

    Another agenda? Maybe to some extent. According to Mike Robuck's piece, the Communications Workers of America, who are renegotiating their contract with VZ, made the letter available to the media. (Couldn't find it on FCC site.) 

    marjsdad 12/5/2012 | 5:28:09 PM
    re: Verizon Spectrum Debate Escalates

    What a crock. Currently,the top 3 telcos all have quad plays that include wireless, both within and outside of their upgraded plant. Both satellite providers will have bundles that include wireless. Cable cannot compete long-term without a bundle of services that includes wireless. Sounds to me like cable hooking up with a wireless provider is just leveling the playing field. Can't blame them for wanting to team up with the wireless provider they think will be the best partner. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like the people opposing this have their own agendas.

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