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FCC Restarts Review Of Verizon-XO, as Questions Remain

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**Editor’s Note: Please click here for a recap of the biggest channel-impacting mergers in May-June 2016.**

After pausing for more than a month, the Federal Communications Commission has resumed its review of Verizon’s pending $1.8 billion purchase of XO Communications’ fiber-optic network business.

FCC's Matt DelNeroIn a July 20 letter filed by FCC Wireline Competition Bureau Chief Matt DelNero, the agency issued information requests to XO Holdings and Verizon with a return date of July 7. As of July 20, neither applicant had completed their production of responsive material, he said. Further, “with respect to certain information requests, no anticipated production date” had been offered, he added.

The FCC paused its review on day 86 of the 180-day period.

“We will restart the clock upon completion of the applicants’ responses as discussed herein,” DelNero said.

In an Aug. 24 letter, DelNero said Verizon and XO have completed their responses.

“Based on this representation, and our review to date, we are restarting the informal 180-day clock, making (Aug. 24) Day 86 of the commission’s review,” he said.{ad}

Announced in February, the deal would provide Verizon with access to XO’s fiber-based IP and Ethernet networks, “helping to better serve enterprise and wholesale customers,” according to XO. In addition, the acquired fiber facilities will help Verizon continue to densify its cell network.

Separately, Verizon also will lease available XO wireless spectrum, with an option to buy that spectrum by the end of 2018.

The deal is poised to have a big impact on the channel, but the companies have released scant details to this point as to how. Master agents we talked to earlier this year were eager to get answers to their questions, using terms such as “disappointed” and phrases such as “in the dark” in regard to the future of a combined Verizon-XO.

In a statement at the time, XO said it “will continue to operate independently and maintain the highest quality service standards for our customers, and we remain committed to our partners.”


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