Archive | May 2012

Can the Verizon/Big Cable monopoly be stopped?

Verizon Wireless and the largest cable companies have inked an agreement to stop competing and become partners. But they’ve kept the details secret.

Here’s what we do know: this deal is a death knell for consumer choice and industry competition. By joining together and marketing each others’ services, Verizon Wireless, Comcast, Time Warner, Bright House, and Cox will concentrate their power in the industry, becoming a virtual monopoly.

The deal also includes a joint operating entity to develop exclusive, proprietary technologies the Verizon/Big Cable partners would use to crush competitors.

Verizon and the cable companies don’t want scrutiny of this deal. With opposition to the deal growing, the FCC just temporarily suspended its regulatory review.

But even if the companies do provide more information about the deal to the FCC, much of it will be locked behind confidentiality agreements, hidden from the public. The stakes are too high to let this happen.

Will you ask your members of Congress to demand a public hearing on the Verizon/Big Cable monopoly-making deal? Click here to take action.

Elected officials, consumer organizations, civil rights groups, telecom workers and individual consumers are speaking out about the effect this deal will have on pricing, competition and jobs. Representatives Henry Waxman and Anna Eshoo of California have begun the call for hearings.

Join them.  Urge your members of Congress to demand a hearing on the Verizon/Big Cable monopoly grab!

S5769 Passes in NYS senate…on to Assembly

Today, May 8th, 2012, the NYS Senate voted to pass S5769 which will permanently deregulate VoIP telephone service. 

This bill passed in the Senate last year and was defeated in the Assembly. The forces of evil tried to sneak it into the budget this year, but we defeated it. Well … now it has returned! We must defeat it again, and we must make it clear to any Senator and Assemblymember that we will not support them if they do not support us. This bill would result in further diminishing of our jobs at Warwick and Frontier.

House Democrats seek hearing on Verizon’s $315 million purchase of Cox airwaves


Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives asked for a hearing on Verizon Wireless’s proposed $3.6 billion purchase of airwaves from a group of cable companies led by Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable Inc.

The airwaves sale and related cross-marketing agreements may have implications for competition in the wireless industry, California representatives Henry Waxman and Anna Eshoo said in a letter today to Fred Upton, the Michigan Republican who is chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Waxman and Eshoo said they have taken no position on the purchase.

Verizon, the largest U.S. mobile provider, announced on Dec. 2 the purchase of unused airwaves from Comcast, Time Warner Cable and closely held Bright House Networks LLC. The companies pledged joint marketing. On Dec. 16 Verizon announced a $315 million airwaves purchase and marketing agreement with closely held Cox Communications Inc.

“It is important that the Energy and Commerce  Committee examine the policy implications of these deals carefully,” Waxman and Eshoo said in the letter.

The accords make allies of cable companies pushing into the phone business and Verizon Wireless, whose parent has entered cable’s traditional video business. Waxman, the senior Democrat on the Commerce Committee, and Eshoo, the top Democrat on the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, addressed their letter to Upton and Greg Walden, the Oregon Republican who is the committee chairman.

Competition Concern

Opponents have said the deals would result in reduced competition and higher prices. Verizon said the spectrum purchase will give it airwaves needed to meet soaring demand from smartphones and data-hungry tablet computers such as Apple Inc.’s iPad.

The deals are under review by the Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department. Opponents including the Communications Workers of America have asked the FCC to delay its consideration of the deal. Verizon has said no delay is warranted.

Verizon has said consumers will benefit from purchasing communications services in a bundle, and opponents have said the deals will increase concentration and bring disincentives for competition between mobile providers and companies supplying service over wires, Eshoo and Waxman said.

Walden has said he plans to examine who owns airwaves and their use, the lawmakers said.

“Any analysis of these important issues would be incomplete without an examination of the proposed Verizon spectrum purchases,” Waxman and Eshoo said.

License Sales

Debbee Keller, a spokeswoman for Republicans the Commerce Committee, didn’t immediately return an e-mail and telephone call seeking comment. Ed McFadden, a Washington-based spokesman for Verizon, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail and phone call.

Verizon said on April 18 it will sell other spectrum licenses it bought in 2008 if it can complete the purchase under scrutiny. The timing of the sale announcement isn’t tied to the progress of the spectrum purchase at the FCC, Peter Thonis, a Verizon spokesman, said in an e-mail that day.

Verizon Wireless, based in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, is 55 percent-owned by Verizon and 45 percent-owned by Vodafone Group Plc, based in Newbury, England.