Groups balk at paying Verizon $2K for FCC paper

The public interest groups and telecom companies filing the letter said Verizon has offered to provide paper copies to them of the documents for the cost of $2,124.39, which they say is too expensive.

In the case of the public interest groups, it means they “must initially rely on discussions with others who have been able to study the documents,” which they say delays the process further.

The groups are opposed to Verizon’s $3.6 billion proposed purchase of spectrum from Comcast, Time Warner, Bright House Networks and Cox.

The deal is important to Verizon because it would provide the company with additional bandwidth at a time when customers are clamoring for more of it. Consequently, it would make bandwidth scarcer and more expensive for Verizon’s competitors.

The proposed deal would also create joint marketing agreements in which the companies would promote, market and sell one another’s products and services. A joint technology venture created under the deal would develop new proprietary technologies.

When asked about files last week, a Verizon spokesman told The Hill, "[w]e have cooperated fully in responding to the FCC's requests for information, and are continuing to cooperate to make sure we get them any information they need."

The letter from the telecom companies and public interest groups follows similar criticism last week from the Communications Workers of America, which asked the FCC to stop the 180-day clock on its review of the deal. The union also argued Verizon and the cable companies had not provided meaningful details of their transaction.

In a press release last week, CWA argued the companies have provided documents about the deal that include large redacted segments. The companies also have delivered materials in unreadable file formats and hidden data behind proprietary file formats, it said.

The union also accused the companies of simply burying the necessary information in an avalanche of “hundreds of thousands of documents.”