Posts Tagged ‘Verizon’
June 11th, 2012 at 1:59 pm
Coalition to FCC: Approve Verizon/SpectrumCo Deal Now

In a letter delivered on Friday, a coalition of 14 free market organizations, including the Center for Individual Freedom (“CFIF”), urged the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) to approve a private deal between Verizon and cable companies that will free currently unused spectrum to help alleviate the growing “spectrum crunch” that many wireless consumers – particularly those in densely populated areas of the country – are already feeling.

The letter, which was organized by ATR’s Digital Liberty, reads in part:

Demand for wireless broadband is more than doubling annually, but vast swaths of valuable spectrum – the lifeblood of mobile communications – remain unavailable to wireless carriers. Consumers in densely populated urban areas are already suffering from inadequate wireless capacity. While meeting this robust demand will require wireless carriers to adopt an ‘all-of-the-above’ approach, increasing spectrum availability is unquestionably the most fundamental and cost-effective means to meet wireless demand.

Unfortunately, spectrum auctions that will enable wireless carriers to bid on additional spectrum remain years away. Verizon Wireless’s proposed transfer presents a rare and crucial opportunity to deploy currently unused spectrum for wireless broadband. The spectrum at issue is ideally situated in the 1700/2100 MHz AWS bands, covering over 80 percent of the U.S. population (259 million POPs). Consumers will see substantial net benefits from expanded coverage enabled by additional spectrum, especially compared to more costly and time-consuming undertakings such as cell splitting.

With demand for wireless broadband more than doubling annually, the FCC’s own estimates predict that demand for wireless spectrum will exceed supply in 2013.  Yet Obama’s FCC has done little if anything at all to make additional and much-needed spectrum available to wireless network operators. 

In fact, under the Obama Administration the FCC has worked to delay and outright block private-sector deals to alleviate the growing spectrum crunch.  Last year, the FCC took unprecedented steps to block the then-pending AT&T-T-Mobile merger, going so far as to publicly release a biased draft staff report in opposition to the merger that the commissioners themselves never approved and quite  possibly didn’t even read.  Had that merger been approved, AT&T was promising to deploy high-speed mobile broadband to 95 percent of all Americans.  And the FCC has been over-scrutinizing and slow-walking approval of the Verizon-SpectrumCo deal since December.

Read the full coalition letter to the FCC here.

April 13th, 2012 at 2:28 pm
T-Mobile, Victim of Abusive FCC Last Year, Now Asks FCC to Cripple a Market Competitor
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Just months ago, T-Mobile became another unjustified casualty of the arbitrary and capricious Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  It was bad enough that the FCC curiously opposed T-Mobile’s proposed merger with AT&T, which would have upgraded wireless service for tens of millions of American consumers and created thousands of new jobs.  Compounding that injustice, however, the FCC committed the unprecedented transgression of releasing a confidential staff report that inaccurately maligned the proposed merger’s justifications.

Sadly, T-Mobile now seeks to employ that same FCC as a bureaucratic bludgeon to cripple a market competitor, by asking it to block a private spectrum purchase by Verizon Wireless.   Whereas T-Mobile announced a few months ago that, “The U.S. wireless industry will remain fiercely competitive”  by allowing acquisition of 50 MHz of T-Mobile’s spectrum as part of the AT&T deal, it now claims that Verizon’s proposed acquisition of 20 MHz of unused spectrum will somehow “unduly tip the scales” in Verizon’s favor.  Moreover, T-Mobile itself seeks to acquire 20 MHz of spectrum, which it claims is in the public interest and “seeks only to assign spectrum licenses and no other assets.”

CFIF supported T-Mobile’s right to enter into a bargained-for exchange between private parties during its proposed merger with AT&T, which the FCC and Obama Justice Department improperly blocked.  But by the same token, it should not turn around and attempt to interfere with other parties’ market transactions.  T-Mobile is a subsidiary of Deutsche Telecom, the world’s fourth-largest telecommunications company, which itself is partly owned by the German government.  So it’s not exactly David fighting Goliath, unable to contend in the marketplace without exploiting the FCC as some sort of protective big brother.

Verizon Wireless merely seeks to purchase unused spectrum, which will bring desperately-needed wireless service improvements for U.S. consumers.  That’s none of T-Mobile’s business, and the FCC is not some sort of instrument to be used as a competitive weapon.

December 7th, 2011 at 5:27 pm
Verizon/Cable Commercial Spectrum Deal Demonstrates Market at Work
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While federal bureaucrats dither, the ever-evolving telecom market continues to move at warp speed.  As Holman Jenkins of The Wall Street Journal observed, “The half life of regulatory know-it-allism gets shorter and shorter.”

Under an agreement announced last week to rave reviews, Verizon will pay $3.6 billion for 20 MHz of  unutilized spectrum on which Comcast, Time Warner and Bright House Networks – collectively part of the SpectrumCo joint venture – were sitting.  As part of the agreement, Verizon will also offer cable television services for those entities while they can in turn resell Verizon’s wireless service.  But here’s the takeaway point of it all.  Spectrum is the critical conduit by which wireless technology operates, and this cooperative accord will more promptly make idle spectrum available for consumer use via such cutting-edge devices as tablets and smartphones.  By way of contrast, it would take years under even the rosiest scenarios before Congress and federal regulators got around to making desperately-needed spectrum available for consumer use.

With consumer demand continually placing greater demands upon finite capacity, this deal will increase wireless breathing room.  In so doing, it will thereby ensure better customer service and open more doors to foreseeable and unforeseeable innovations.  It’s a win for consumers, and it once again illustrates the possibilities that markets provide when we allow them to operate more freely and cooperatively.

August 9th, 2011 at 3:08 pm
Addendum: Striking Verizon Employees Suspected of Vandalism, Stalking, Harassment
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Updating yesterday’s comment on the Verizon landline employee strike, in which the union up and walked away from negotiations, picketing workers are now alleged to have vandalized company equipment.  Strikers have also openly admitted stalking and harassing other Verizon workers during service calls.  According to striking technician Richard Aulicino of CWA Local 1109, “We cannot stop them from doing their job, but we can harass them while they are on the job.”

Stay classy, union thugs.  Sounds like a guy who truly cares about his trade or his job.

And some people wonder what could go wrong with proposed card-check legislation, which would eliminate the secret ballot in union elections and allow union representatives to stalk employees even at home?

August 8th, 2011 at 3:22 pm
Verizon Strike: Union Refuses to Negotiate or Acknowledge Today’s Reality
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Yesterday, the union representing 45,000 northeastern and mid-Atlantic Verizon Communications employees walked away from the negotiating table and went on strike.  So what’s the problem?  Unsurprisingly, the union simply refuses to acknowledge today’s fiscal and technological realities.

It’s no secret that traditional copper wire communication – the division of Verizon in which the striking employees work – is a declining industry.  In many homes today, a copper wire telephone looks like a quaint throwback to a bygone era, just as a dial phone looked 30 years ago with the arrival of push-button phones.  That helps explain why wireline services are a declining part of Verizon’s business, and why most of Verizon’s profits come from wireless, not wireline, communications anymore.  Stated simply, cellular phones and Voice over IP (VoIP) provide more advanced services more competitively.

Yet the CWA and IBEW refuse to acknowledge reality, and refuse to negotiate any attempt to share healthcare costs.

Other Verizon employees, including those in its fast-growing wireless phone and high-speed Internet divisions, already share a portion of their healthcare costs.  In fact, 130,000 Verizon employees already do.  This is simply a fact of modern life.

Across America, every employing entity in the United States is adapting to today’s economic and technological environment.   Cities are dropping police and fire departments in favor of coordinating with adjoining cities.   States are reviewing their employment practices and work rules to more accurately reflect the pressures of lower revenues and higher pension costs.   Major companies are re-tooling not just their factories, but their production methods and business lines to more closely adapt to changing customer demands and new technologies.  To that end, every business – from the smallest mom-and-pop stores to the largest telecommunications companies – must deal with the ever-growing cost of health care.  Most Americans recognized long ago that individuals have to help bear the burden of growing healthcare costs.  For its part, Verizon can hardly be said to be abandoning its employees’ healthcare needs, as the company spends about $4 billion per year on healthcare for employees, retirees, and their families.

So it is no small irony that wireline workers’ unions are least interested in evolving to allow their employer to continue to provide high-paying, long-term jobs to their employees and excellent services to their customers.

January 21st, 2011 at 10:46 am
Verizon Challenges Net “Neutrality” – Obama’s FCC Picked a Fight, and It Got One
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Last month, President Obama’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted by a partisan 3-2 margin to regulate Internet service via Net “Neutrality.”  On that date, we predicted,”The FCC’s reckless effort to regulate Internet traffic will now begin a slow death march to ultimate defeat from legal challenges and Congressional action.”

Exactly one month later, the judicial front in that battle is underway.

Yesterday, Verizon Communications challenged the FCC’s rogue vote in the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  That’s the same court that unanimously ruled last April that the FCC doesn’t possess lawful authority to impose Net “Neutrality,” but the FCC defiantly pressed ahead despite that unequivocal ruling.  In so doing, the FCC also defied 2-to-1 public opposition and a bipartisan group of 300 from Congress.  Obama took to the pages of The Wall Street Journal this week to profess a new commitment to regulatory restraint in pursuit of a healthier economy, job creation and more humble federal government.  But his own FCC belies that supposed commitment with its Net “Neutrality” agenda.

Leaders of the new 112th Congress have also committed to overturning the FCC’s destructive attempt to regulate Internet service.  Whether the demise of Net “Neutrality” comes legislatively or judicially, it can’t come soon enough for American consumers, investors and employers.