Doyle Seeks Info on Verizon Build-Outs in Light of Cable Spectrum Deal

House Communications Subcommittee member Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) wants some info from Verizon on its continued commitment to Verizon FiOS wireline video service.

In a letter Monday to Verizon President Lowell McAdam, Doyle said he was reaching out given that committee had yet to schedule a hearing on Verizon's proposed purchase of spectrum from cable companies and cross-marketing agreements that will have Verizon stores marketing cable service from top operators like Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

Among other things, Doyle wants to know about continued FiOS deployment in general, and in Pennsylvania in particular, including whether it will continue planned build-outs in areas served by the cable companies in the transaction. He also wants to know if the company is investing in DSL, and where that DSL overlaps with cable broadband Internet service by companies participating in the deal. The question was apparently prompted in part by Verizon's decision as of May 6 to couple DSL service with voice for new subs.

As Verizon has pointed out when others brought up the FiOS build-out issue in regard to the spectrum deal, the company decided back in 2010 that it was only going to build out the franchises it had already secured and target those 18 million customers in and around New York City, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, rather than spend any more of its shareholders money in a wider build-out.

Verizon has proposed to pay about $3.9 billion for advanced wireless spectrum in the hands of Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House (SpectrumCo.) and former SpectrumCo. partner Cox. There are also associated cross marketing agreements that has Verizon and those cable operators selling each other's' services and working on R&D to integrate wired and wireless service.

The FCC and DOJ are currently vetting the deal, though the FCC has stopped the clock on its review for three weeks to give interested parties a chance to catch up on some document submissions from the parties.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.