FCC, DOJ Close to Approving Verizon Wireless/Cable Deals -- Report

By Josh Long Comments
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Verizon Wireless reportedly is close to receiving clearance from U.S. regulators to purchase $3.9 billion in spectrum from cable companies.

Unidentified sources "close to the negotiations" told The Wall Street Journal the companies reached broad agreement to settle antitrust concerns, including a concession to limit the scope and duration of agreements between Verizon Wireless and the cable companies to sell each other's services.

Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission officials are preparing to approve the agreement in the coming weeks, the report said.

Verizon Wireless has said it's purchasing spectrum from Bright House Networks, Comcast, Cox and Time Warner Cable to meet the skyrocketing demand for mobile broadband services thanks to Americans' insatiable appetite to remain connected at all times. Consumer groups and other critics have declared the co-marketing agreements and related deals between the cable companies and Verizon Wireless will undermine competition, and they have urged regulators to impose conditions to alleviate such concerns.

A spokesman for Verizon Wireless said last week the company was confident it was on the track to receive regulatory approvals this summer. The FCC is in day 173 of its informal 180-day review, and a Justice Department spokesperson said last week that review was "ongoing."

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