March 20, 2012
Unions Blast Verizon/SpectrumCo Deal
A joint press release from the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) warns what will happen if Verizon Wireless eventually is permitted to purchase spectrum from several cable operators under the blanket name SpectrumCo (click here for more information).
“As the Senate Judiciary Committee antitrust subcommittee plans to hold a hearing tomorrow on Verizon Wireless’s proposed monopoly with Comcast and Time Warner, thousands of consumers are mobilizing against the deal in communities across the country,” the two unions say. “If approved by the Federal Communications Commission, the deal would effectively result in an unchecked monopoly by the nation’s largest cable and wireless companies over the telecommunications industry, killing thousands of jobs, ending competition, raising prices for consumers, lowering service quality and discontinuing the development of high-speed internet infrastructure.
They continue, “The proposed deal will end the build-out of Verizon FiOS, the only all-fiber optic commercial network in America, ending cable competition.”
Both groups believe Verizon will abandon its buildout of a larger FiOS system (editor’s note: indeed, the carrier pulled back on this about a year ago), saying many large cities and no rural areas will have access to FiOS.
“Verizon has invested more than $18 million on developing and building out FiOS, creating thousands of jobs,” they add. “This deal will prevent future investment, destroying badly needed economic development and jobs.”
"The U.S. has dropped to 32nd on broadband speed behind nations like Romania and Lithuania. We need deals with clear commitments on speed, buildout and price for consumers," commented CWA President Larry Cohen. "We need wireline and wireless buildout. This deal will freeze then diminish wireline buildout. In short, we need policy that brings 100 percent of our nation into the 21st-century information-based global economy."
Added IBEW President Edwin D. Hill, “Instead of planning for a stable future that provides a world-class telecommunications infrastructure for America, Verizon has chosen to strive for the lowest common denominator in the industry, pursuing a low-wage, poor-service and limited-choice alternative that benefits only their top executives at the expense of everyone else. Their corporate strategy is out of step with the best interests of the industry and the American people.”