FCC approves Verizon spectrum deal with roll-out demands

The FCC allows a big spectrum deal to pass as long as Verizon uses the frequencies

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has conditionally approved a multibillion swap of wireless spectrum between Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and four of the biggest cable TV system operators in the U.S.

But for the deal to go ahead, the FCC is demanding Verizon meet goals for rolling out services using the new spectrum and offer data roaming to competitors at fair prices.

The deal is important because radio frequency spectrum is a finite resource so it is valuable and vitally important for Verizon and T-Mobile. The amount of spectrum each holds directly affects the speed, reach and strength of wireless service that can be offered to consumers.

The companies reached a deal in December last year that will see Verizon buy unused spectrum from Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Cox Communications. The cable companies had bought the spectrum in earlier government auctions but never ended up using it.

Verizon plans to use some of the spectrum itself, sell some to T-Mobile under a June 2012 agreement and auction the rest. A second part of the deal involved Verizon and the cable companies reselling each other's services.

The U.S. Department of Justice gave conditional approval on Aug. 16 as long as some parts of the latter commercial deal were changed.

The FCC's conditions target Verizon's actual use of the frequency space it will acquire and should help answer claims from competitors that, once acquired, Verizon might not put it to use.

"If commenters' concerns are accurate that Verizon Wireless does not need the spectrum it is acquiring, at least in the near term, and the result is that Verizon Wireless does not in fact put the spectrum to use, [Verizon's] asserted benefits would be undermined," the FCC said in its ruling.

Therefore, the commission is requiring Verizon to offer advanced wireless services using the spectrum to at least 30 percent of populated areas covered by the frequency space within three years. Then, within seven years, service must be available to at least 70 percent of the population of the areas.

The FCC is also requiring Verizon conclude its spectrum transfer to T-Mobile within 45 days of acquiring it from the cable companies and that Verizon continue to offer data roaming on services using the acquired spectrum as fair rates.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >

Mobile

Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?