Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin postponed Friday’s originally scheduled public meeting a third time, with the agency now planning to meet sometime Monday to announce action on SBC Communications Inc.’s merger with AT&T Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc.’s takeover of MCI Inc.
The agency meets once monthly, usually a Thursday morning at 9:30. Martin originally moved Friday’s meeting from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and then to 5 p.m. -- perhaps a sign that he’s having difficulty gaining a majority to approve the mergers.
Because the FCC is short one commissioner, the agency is evenly divided between two Republicans and two Democrats. Martin, a Republican, needs one of the Democrats to craft a majority. In that situation, the Democrats have leverage to extract merger conditions in high-level talks with Martin's office and the companies.
The Department of Justice approved both mergers Thursday on the condition that SBC and Verizon divest fiber-optic-network facilities serving businesses customers in hundreds of building in 19 metropolitan areas.
An FCC official, speaking not for attribution, said FCC Democrats had been pushing for a naked-digital-subscriber-line requirement -- something the DOJ did not impose. Such a condition would require the sale of DSL unbundled from local phone service.
The smarter way to stay on top of the multichannel video marketplace. Sign up below.
Thank you for signing up to Multichannel News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.