This is the statement CWA issued today on the U.S. Justice Department’s decision approving the Verizon DOJ Decision on Verizon-Big Cable Deal Destroys Competition, JobsWireless-Big Cable deal:
The U.S. Justice Department’s decision today to approve the Verizon Wireless-Big Cable deal is exactly the wrong one for workers, consumers and communities. The result is a massive Verizon Wireless/cable/content monopoly, job cuts, higher prices, and fewer choices.
The weak conditions on cross-marketing that DOJ has set in place will do little to continue competition. Instead, this deal will result in Verizon abandoning further investment in FiOS, its high speed network. For communities like Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, cities across upstate New York and most of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, Delaware, and Virginia, there will be no high-speed Internet competition — none.
The cable monopoly with high-speed linked to content bundles that drive average prices higher is not the answer. No other 21st Century nation has chosen this path. Finally, how will the DOJ or FCC police marketing restrictions within a market area?
Not only have regulators lost their focus on competition, but they again show that jobs get no consideration in telecommunications policy. Without incentives or direction for Verizon to continue to build out FiOS, thousands of good paying jobs will be lost.
There is strong opposition to this deal. More than 49 members of Congress, mayors from Boston and nine upstate New York communities, and dozens of local elected officials and consumer advocates have weighed in on the harm that consumers and communities will suffer from the anti-competitive provisions of this deal. More than 100,000 consumers are on record opposing this transaction.
Separately, the Congressional Black Caucus wrote to DOJ Attorney General Eric Holder and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski expressing concerns members of Congress and calling for strong conditions on the deal.
“It seems clear to me that the joint marketing agreements that are a central feature of this transaction create substantial disincentives for Verizon to expand its FiOS deployment,” wrote Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (Mo.) and chair of the CBC.
“Too many lower-income and minority communities do not have affordable access to high-speed Internet, which puts them at a disadvantage in access to jobs, economic activity, education, health care and public safety. Closing the digital divide must be a top priority in your review of this transaction,” he said.