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The following is attributed to Harold Feld, legal director for Public Knowledge:
"Today's announcement that the largest cable companies are gathering to offer free Wi-fi only to their subscribers is very disappointing. Wi-fi should be the competitor to wireless, but it won't be. Wi-Fi offers the opportunity for these companies to compete with wireless providers such as Verizon wireless, using Wi-Fi roaming to build a rival footprint that could offer a cheaper alternative to consumers who find their iPads and smartphones constrained by aggressive bandwidth caps.
"But rather than compete, the cable companies want to include Verizon as part of the footprint. Under the side agreements these companies have entered into with Verizon, they will resell Verizon's wireless service rather than offer a competing service. Cable companies said they need the Verizon deal because they can't compete with telephone companies by offering a wireless service. This new arrangement says they can, if they want to.
"The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Department of Justice (DoJ) should not allow the cable operators and Verizon Wireless to chose collusion over competition simply because cable operators today offer wireless competition through their Wi-fi footprint instead of a traditional licensed network."