Verizon cable airwaves deal wins FCC backing: Bloomberg

The proposal by Verizon Wireless to purchase unused spectrum from a group of US cable companies has secured enough votes to win the approval of the Federal Communications Commission, according to a story from Bloomberg.

According to the newswire, the agency’s two Republican commissioners have joined Democratic Chairman Julius Genachowski in approving the $3.6 billion deal. The agency has five members in total.

The proposal by Verizon Wireless to purchase unused spectrum from a group of US cable companies has secured enough votes to win the approval of the Federal Communications Commission, according to a story from Bloomberg.

According to the newswire, the agency’s two Republican commissioners have joined Democratic Chairman Julius Genachowski in approving the $3.6 billion deal. The agency has five members in total.

Bloomberg cites two agency officials as the source of its information, saying neither wished to be identified because the voting had not been made public at the time of writing.

The Verizon deal had already been approved by the US Justice Department on August 16, although only if Verizon agreed to co-operate on a very limited basis with the cable companies involved in the deal, which include Comcast and Time Warner Cable, the biggest two in the country.

The Justice Department had felt that a spectrum sale combined with the “co-operation pact” proposed by the companies would lead to higher prices and poorer services for customers.

Verizon was also required to sell some of its existing airwaves to T-Mobile USA, a small rival that had formerly opposed the cable airwaves transaction.

Verizon is desperate to add to its spectrum resources as consumers adopt smartphones and other wireless devices used to access data and internet services.

Facing similar constraints, AT&T had proposed a takeover of T-Mobile USA last year to shore up its spectrum holdings, but the deal was opposed by regulatory authorities on the grounds that it would reduce competition.