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Verizon/SpectrumCoDeal Critics Form Alliance for BroadbandCompetition

A new group, the Alliance for Broadband
Competition, will be pitching reporters Monday on why the government should nix
the Verizon/SpectrumCo/Cox deal.

The Alliance, which held a
press conference to cut the ribbon on the effort, is made up of activist group
deal critic Public Knowledge, as well as RCA: The Competitive
Carriers Association, T-Mobile, and the American Antitrust Institute. Free Press participated in the press conference and shares their concerns, but is not a member of the coalition. "It's our policy now to refrain from formally joining industry coalitions," said a Free Press spokesperson.

They bill themselves as like minded, but more
accurately it is "don't like" minded, since all are on the record as either
concerned with, opposed to, or seeking conditions on, the deal.

Concerned that the deal is going to get the
green light -- they point out that Verizon said at the CTIA: Wireless
Association convention last week they were confident it would be going through --
the group wants to talk about deal pitfalls, which they say are concentrating
more spectrum in the hands of one of the two largest carriers and removed the
four cable operators involved -- Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House and
Cox -- from the ranks of potential competitors because the deal also involves
associated cross-marketing agreements in which the operators and Verizon would
sell their respective services and team up for R&D on integrating wired and
wireless service

Comcast dismissed the effort.

"Same PR firm different day," said Comcast VP, government communications, Sena Fitzmaurice. "The groups organized by this PR firm have been sending out similar press releases, doing press conferences and filings at the FCC together for months. There's nothing new here. We've already demonstrated the hypocrisy and self-interest of the members of this group, T-Mobile in particular, in filings at the FCC. "

T-Mobile, for example, argued that the wireless space was competitive in pitching its deal to sell to AT&T.