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May 9, 2012
Public Knowledge Asks FCC To Lift Secrecy On Verizon/Cable Research Operation
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should make public the organizational details of the organization Verizon and the biggest cable companies want to establish to develop new technologies for cable and wireless, Public Knowledge said in a filing with the Commission today.
At issue is how much detail will be made public about the "Joint Operating Entity" (JOE) that would be set up for Verizon and its cable partners -- Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House and Cox, (the Applicants). Based on confidential information submitted in the record, Public Knowledge has argued to the FCC that the JOE provides the template for a cartel between the most important providers of video, broadband, and wireless services. The companies have responded that the JOE is a “procompetitive R&D joint venture” to develop and license new technologies that integrate wireless and wireline networks.
"There is no reason for the FCC to allow Verizon, Comcast and their proposed cartel partners to keep secret the organizational details of their new organization. If this information were made public, it would be clear to everyone that this is not a 'procompetitive R&D joint venture', as the companies have claimed in their filings with the Commission," said Harold Feld, Legal Director of Public Knowledge: "The JOE is in reality at the center of the effort to create a new cartel."
"The governance structure of the JOE is neither highly confidential nor confidential, but is critical to assessing the public interest impacts of the proposed transactions; understanding the connections between the Applicants’ spectrum, marketing, resale, and JOE agreements; and determining whether the JOE will establish the basis for a future cartel between its members," PK said in a filing with the FCC.
The redacted version of the filing for the public record is here.
Public Knowledge is a Washington D.C.- based public interest group working to defend consumer rights in the