Dems want hearing to examine Verizon spectrum deal

“[W]e believe it is important that the Energy and Commerce Committee examine the policy implications of these deals carefully and hear testimony from opponents and supporters of these transactions," Waxman and Eshoo said. 

Verizon wants to enter into an agreement with SpectrumCo, a partnership between cable companies Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks, under which Verizon would purchase wireless spectrum the partnership owns, and would also enter into cross-marketing agreements as well as a joint venture to develop new technology that could integrate wireless and wireline phones.

The company has already made a similar agreement with Cox communications, which also owned the same type of spectrum the SpectrumCo partners are selling.

While they say they have yet to take a position for or against the transactions, Waxman and Eshoo said they are both concerned that the transactions “have potential implications for competition in the wireless industry.”

Verizon has argued that letting it purchase the licenses will create consumer benefits by letting them build a network using an unused block of spectrum, and that consumers will benefit from the convenience of purchasing bundled communications. 

Many public interest advocates and other wireless companies including T-Mobile and Sprint Nextel have cited potential harms from the Verizon and cable company transactions. They argue it will further concentrate the wireless industry and create disincentives for competition.