At a CWA press conference today, New York state Democratic Congressmen Jerrold Nadler and Brian Higgins reinforced their positions on the pending Verizon/Big Cable deal: stop the anti-competitive aspects and encourage Verizon to continue its FiOS build-out.
Nadler and Higgins have been joined by 46 other members of Congress, as well as 10 upstate New York mayors and 75 local officials in their opposition to the deal.
One reason, as Congressman Higgins said, is that adversely affects subscribers and, “will bring substantial consumer harm.” Higgins’ district, which includes Buffalo and areas to the southwest, is, he said, highly dependent on high-tech connections like FiOS, and “this deal would weaken our economy.”
Nadler and Higgins were joined by former FTC assistant policy director and anti-trust lawyer David Balto. “No matter how you dress this up,” Balto said, “[the deal] is just a cartel in disguise.” And, he noted, the effects on consumers are not just theoretical or projected. “The best broadband,” he said, “is in communities where cable and FiOS go head to head.”
The deal is explained in detail in CWA’s report, Verizon/Cable Deal: Slamming The Door On Our High Speed-Future, and in the CWA slide show, The Verizon/SpectrumCo/Cox Transaction: A Communications Cartel in the Making.
If the deal is allowed to go through unchanged, the landscape for consumers will become much more bleak. Parul Desai, Communications Policy Counsel of the Consumers Union, said that the deal would ensure that “75 percent of the country will face a duopoly. There will be no incentive for FiOS to build out.” Desai said that the only way the deal would be acceptable would be if it were excluded from FiOS areas.
Meanwhile CWA protests, actions and communications continue to reach the media and public. Just a few recent headlines show that the message is getting through:
As David Balto said at the conclusion of the press conference, “I’ve never seen a merger with this groundswell of opposition.”
Verizon/Cable Deal: Slamming The Door On Our High Speed-Future (CWA report, 2012)
The Verizon/SpectrumCo/Cox Transaction: A Communications Cartel in the Making (CWA PowerPoint presentation)
CWA Blasts Verizon Deal (National Journal, Aug. 9, 2012)
Verizon workers' union: Proposed plan will cut jobs, create monopoly (Fox23 News, Aug. 9, 2012)
CWA Releases TV Ad on Verizon-Big Cable Deal In D.C., PA and VA (The Paramus Post, Aug. 9, 2012
Verizon Union Rally (News Channel 34, Aug. 8, 2012)