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FCC delays review of Verizon SpectrumCo deal due to 'untimely' responses

FCC delays review of Verizon SpectrumCo deal due to 'untimely' responses


The FCC is delaying its decision on Verizon's spectrum purchase from big cable companies by 21 days to allow for further review of the documents the companies are submitting.

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Verizon's attempt to purchase $3.6 billion worth of spectrum from Comcast, Time Warner, and Bright House is facing more FCC scrutiny than the companies may have anticipated. In a letter today, the FCC cited "untimely productions" from the companies when it came to the submission of documents supporting the deal. The original deadline the FCC set, March 22nd, was not met, and when the companies did get around to submitting documents by late April, the FCC said it found "deficiencies" in what was submitted. Moreover, opponents of the plan haven't been happy about their access to said documents (not to mention T-Mobile's vocal opposition).

The companies looking to make the spectrum deal have apparently wised up to the fact that it won't be rubber-stamped. They have "committed to go beyond the requirements of the Commission's orders in this matter by taking additional steps to facilitate third-party review of the record materials," which translates into providing their documents in a searchable electronic form. Add it all up and the FCC says it needs an additional 21 days to review everything before making a decision on the deal.

Although it's not necessarily an indication of how the FCC will rule, it's another sign that the FCC seems to be taking its responsibilities to shepherd the use of spectrum more carefully. After seeing AT&T's attempted buyout of T-Mobile fall apart, it's no surprise that Verizon and SpectrumCo appear taking this process a bit more seriously now.