Verizon Wireless opponents: ‘good thing’ if customers suffer

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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Verizon Wireless, caught in the middle of a regulatory battle over a multibillion-dollar transaction pending before the federal government, said Friday that critics of the deal are attempting to harm its customers in order to help its competitors.

The proposed deal is between Verizon Wireless and two cable entities — SpectrumCo., a consortium of leading cable providers, and Cox Communications — over the licensing of electromagnetic spectrum necessary for mobile communications, called AWS Spectrum. Verizon is looking to expand its inventory of licenses for AWS Spectrum – an unpopular move with Verizon’s opponents and competitors.

Free Press, a regular political antagonist of both Verizon and AT&T, is currently part of a coalition of major and regional carriers, and advocacy groups, opposing the pending agreement.

Free Press’ partners include Verizon’s competitors; the group has gone to bat for them in front of Congress on numerous occasions. The organization was also a part of a larger effort against the companies during the net neutrality debate and the failed AT&T/T-Mobile merger.

In a filing to the FCC, Verizon Wireless attorney Adam Krinsky argued that “Free Press has asserted that it would be a ‘good thing’ if the company’s customers experienced service quality degradation due to increased congestion because that might cause Verizon Wireless to lose customers to other wireless providers.”

Krinsky’s letter also highlighted what he said were numerous errors in Free Press’ claims against Verizon Wireless.

“Free Press’ goal of creating ‘disaffected Verizon customers’ by preventing unused spectrum from being put to use to serve those customers is not only extraordinarily bad public policy, but, of couse, is not the standard the Commission applies to the review of proposed license assignments,” he wrote.

Free Press is part of a wider media reform movement funded by progressive institutions and financiers. Until recently, it was one of several organizations that had received strong financial support from the Democracy Alliance, a group of progressive billionaire financiers.

Free Press did not respond to The Daily Caller’s request for comment.

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