The Federal Communications Commission has asked Verizon and cable operators such as Comcast and Time Warner to provide more information about a proposed $3.9 billion deal for more spectrum, per postings on the commission’s website Thursday.
So that those companies can satisfy the FCC’s request, the agency has given them until March 26 to comply and comment on the deal.
Verizon claims it does not have enough of the wireless airwaves and is pursuing this deal to compensate for that shortage.
Verizon and the cable companies have also agreed to a joint-marketing agreement.
The FCC, which is examining whether the spectrum deal is in the public interest, is asking the parties involved for more evidence and background. This is not an unusual step.
The Justice Department is examining whether either part of the deal — spectrum or marketing — would impact competition in the telecommunications market.
"We will continue to respond completely and rapidly to the questions about both the spectrum transfer and the separate cross-marketing agreements at the FCC and DOJ, thereby demonstrating the benefits they bring to consumers," Verizon's Edward McFadden, vice president of policy communications said.
"We anticipate that the process being pursued by the FCC will result in a positive conclusion within the 180-day period set for consideration of the transfer of the spectrum licenses."
T-Mobile, a smaller competitor, has asked the FCC to block the deal because it would help create a monopoly.
Various consumer groups have also voiced concern since Verizon is already the largest telecommunications company in the United States in terms of market share.
“We are very pleased that the Commission is following an aggressive course in asking for more information for a deal that could create a new communications cartel in this country,” Gigi Shon, president and CEO of consumer interest group Public Knowledge, said in a statement.