Three FCC Votes in For Verizon/SpectrumCo.


At press time, the FCC's two Republican members--Robert McDowell and Ajit Pai--had voted to approve the order allowing Verizon to buy advanced wireless spectrum from cable operators Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox and Bright House, according to an FCC source familiar with the tally.

Those commissioners concurred--short of an endorsement--to parts of the decisions, but their yes votes, combined with that of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski--his was yes on all counts--are enough to seal the deal.

The approval had been expected after Justice signaled last week it would not oppose the sale, subject to conditions. The FCC and justice coordinate their vetting of mergers.

Genachowski last week recommended that the deal go through with the Justice conditions, which included Verizon not cross-marketing cable service where it delivers its competing FiOS video service. The deal includes associated cross-marketing and R&D agreements that have activist groups concerned.

At press time about noon on Aug. 21, the two other Dems had not voted the item, according to the source, but could by the end of the day, which is the 180th of the FCC's unofficial 180-day shot clock on vetting the deal. A spokesperson for Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel had no comment at press time and a spokesperson for Commissioner Mignon Clyburn was not immediately available for comment on whether she had voted it or when she might do so.

Following Justice's announcement, activist groups pushed the FCC to levy more conditions than Justice. While Justice focuses on antitrust issues, the FCC goes beyond to look at public interest concerns.