CWA rises up against Verizon-cable wireless spectrum dealings

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) has added its voice to those opposing any kind of relationship between cable companies and Verizon (NYSE: VZ).

CWA demonstration

CWA members demonstrated May 3 in Westchester, N.Y. (image source: CWA)

A group of cable operators--Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), Cox Communications and Bright House Networks--has proposed selling $3.9 billion worth of "unused" spectrum to Verizon Wireless and, while they're at it, developing a joint venture for technology and product sales in markets where they both exist, Reuters reported.

CWA believes that's not good for the consumer and has told the Federal Communications Commission as such in a 16-page filing asking the agency, among other things, to prohibit cross-marketing services within the Verizon footprint.

Verizon and the cablecos want to separate the spectrum sale from the joint venture and have asked the FCC to do the same in its review process.

The CWA, however, thinks the two are linked and could, if approved, spell the end of competition between the two industries because a joint venture would mitigate any urgency Verizon might have to continue to build out its competing FiOS service. Verizon has said that FiOS is not going away.

CWA also pointed out that the partnership between cablecos and Verizon would be even more impactful than AT&T's (NYSE: T) proposed T-Mobile USA acquisition, which the agency and Justice Department shot down last year.

Sprint (NYSE: S), T-Mobile and MetroPCS (NYSE: PCS) have already voiced their opposition to the proposed deal on similar grounds. The FCC will probably make its decision sometime in August.

For more:
- see this Reuters story

Related articles:
FCC extends review of Verizon's cable deals by three weeks
FCC scolds Verizon, cable MSOs for dragging feet in review of spectrum deals
Forecast: Verizon FiOS TV to near 5M subscribers by year's end

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