Rep. David Cicciline has serious issues with FCC chairman Ajit Pai's very public blessing on the newly reconstituted T-Mobile-Sprint deal.
The other Republicans have also signaled their support, which means the deal would be approved by the FCC, though Justice must still sign off on its antitrust review. The FCC's review extends beyond not violating antitrust to whether it benefits the public interest.
Cicciline, the chairman of the House Antitrust Subcommittee, branded the conditions offered up by the companies--5G buildouts, rural digital divide actions and the spin-off of a low-income prepaid wireless subsidiary, and more--as "empty promises."
"Chairman Pai’s statement is deeply concerning," the Rhode Island Democrat said in a statement. "Consolidation is a threat to progress and economic opportunity, not the driver of it. Actual competition in the wireless market is critical to building out the next generation of internet and wireless services.”
“Empty promises will not make this transaction a good deal for American workers and consumers"
Cicciline said that the burden was still on the two companies to prove the deal was not illegal and he expected Justice to "hold them to that longstanding requirement.”
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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.
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