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Dems Urge FCC to Impose Lifeline Conditions on Verizon-TracFone Deal

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Democrats are urging the FCC to take a hard look at Verizon's proposed $6.9 billion purchase of TracFone, but there concern is not so much concentration as Verizon's commitment to the Lifeline low-income internet broadband subsidy program.

That came in a letter to acting FTC chair Jessica Rosenworcel from Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who pointed out that TracFone was one of the largest operators in the Lifeline program.

Also Read: Verizon to Buy TracFone

Verizon has pledged to continue TracFone's support of Lifeline, but the senators want the FCC to take a not quite trust and definitely verify approach to that pledge, saying that Verizon "would have significant incentives and opportunities to push subscribers from Lifeline and inexpensive prepaid services to higher revenue plans.”

That is why they said the FCC should turn Verizon's pledge into binding deal commitments. In addition to making participation in Lifeline a condition of the deal, they argue the FCC should also require to make 5G available to Lifeline and prepaid subs at the same rate as other Verizon customers.

In addition to making participation in Lifeline a condition of the deal, they argue the FCC should also require to make 5G available to Lifeline and prepaid subs at the same rate as other Verizon customers.