Analyst: Verizon/Cable Deal will cost us

Unfortunately, Verizon/Big Cable is a done deal. The spectrum swap is under way, and the companies, which had already ventured into cross marketing, may now continue.

As far as spectrum is concerned, the situation was constrained by the FCC. The commission limits spectrum ownership to a maximum of one-third of total, or roughly 145 MHz per carrier per local market. The FCC forced Verizon to sell off to competitors any spectrum in excess of that limit.

However, the greater consequences for most of us will be in the cost of the four services: telephone, wireless, Internet and TV. And here, CNET News technology reporter Marguerite Reardon offers an unwelcome analysis.

"At the very least, market consolidation means less choice for consumers. And the fewer choices consumers have in providers, the less leverage they may have when dealing with a company that is providing subpar service."

She notes that Verizon will no longer have to vigorously compete with Comcast and Time Warner, and that, she says, "is bad news for consumers."

Reardon says flatly that, "far too many U.S. consumers don't have enough competition when it comes to broadband," and that even with the restrictions on the deal, " Verizon will have little incentive to build beyond its existing Fios footprint, where it could bring true broadband competition to millions more Americans."

It's true that Verizon never specifically promised to build out fiber to the home, but, says Reardon, "if I were keeping a scorecard of pluses and minuses for competition, the approval of these commercial arrangements - even in their altered form - are a negative for consumers."

What $3.9 billion Verizon/cable spectrum deal means to you (FAQ) (CNET, Aug. 25, 2012)