Public Knowledge Pleased With Kohl Plan For Hearing on Verizon/Cable Deal

The following is attributed to Harold Feld, legal director for Public Knowledge:

“Senate Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman Herb Kohl's statement this morning that he intends to hold a hearing on the complicated Verizon deal with the leading cable companies is most welcome.

"We are very pleased that he is doing so.  Even without the agreements between Verizon, Comcast, and the other cable operators to resell each other's services, this transaction would raise serious concerns about spectrum aggregation and the future wireless competition. But when, in addition, competitors become resellers of each others services, those charged with protecting consumers and promoting competition have a duty to take a very careful look.

"One prominent Wall Street analyst declared this deal 'the end of the world as we know it.' We need to determine whether the exchange of spectrum and the accompanying cross-marketing deals represent a good end to the world or a bad end to that world. If, as these companies claim, they cannot compete against one another, Congress and the FCC need to consider whether we will need to return to the world of regulated natural monopolies. While Public Knowledge believes that competition is better, there are serious questions to be answered whether true broadband competition can ever emerge if one provider in a two-company broadband market starts selling the products of the other company.

"We hope and expect the Subcommittee will look at the industry structure and effects of this deal on consumers."

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