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Posted at 04:58 PM ET, 03/08/2012

FCC asks Verizon, cable companies for more information on spectrum deal

This post has been updated.

The Federal Communications Commission asked Verizon, SpectrumCo — a group comprised of Comcast, Time Warner and Bright House — and Cox to submit more information on their proposed agreement for spectrum, including their commercial deals to cross-sell certain products.

Comcast, Time Warner and Bright House were also asked for information, individually.

The companies say that commercial agreements have “no bearing” on the spectrum deal’s effect on the public interest, but critics of the proposal say they should be considered as part of the same transaction.

In a statement, FCC spokesman Neil Grace said that the commission “has concluded that portions of the commercial agreements are inseparable from the proposed license transfer and related wireless competition issues.”

The FCC said that those parts of the commercial deal will be examined with the license transfer proceeding, and that “[the] additional competitive implications of the commercial agreements are being reviewed in a separate inquiry.”

Andrew Schwartzman policy director of the Media Access Project, said, “At first glance, this is an extremely important development.  Those of us who have opposed the transaction have argued that it is not possible to ascertain the potential anti-competitive impact of the cable industry's deal with Verizon without the information that refused to disclose.”

In a statement, Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice said that the company will cooperate with the FCC’s review.

“We have presented compelling evidence that SpectrumCo’s proposed sale of spectrum to Verizon Wireless will promote the public interest by transferring spectrum to a company that will efficiently put it to use to meet consumers’ increasing demand for broadband mobility, consistent with the Commission’s, Congress’,  and the Administration’s policy goals, and that the commercial agreements provide substantial consumer benefits without any reduction in competition,” the statement said.

By  |  04:58 PM ET, 03/08/2012

 
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