Cities claim Verizon-cable spectrum deal shuts them out of FiOS service

Opposition to Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) pending spectrum deal with Comcast and several other cable operators is drawing more heat--this time from five cities that worry the deal could keep them from getting FiOS TV service in their community.

The groups, from Boston, Baltimore, and three cities in New York, Albany, Syracuse and Buffalo, asked the Federal Communications Commission to block the sale of the wireless spectrum from the cable operators to the telco. The deal, said Albany Common Council President Carolyn McLaughlin, "is not in the best interest of those who need to get and stay connected the most.

"This is a step backwards in bridging the digital divide," she said.

Added Curt Anderson, chair of the Baltimore City Delegation to the Maryland House of Delegates: "Under this transaction, Baltimore will never get a fiber-optic network, and the city will be at a disadvantage. The direct job loss will be the hundreds of technicians that would be employed building, installing and maintaining FiOS in the area. The indirect costs of this deal are even higher: the lack of competition in telecommunications will raise prices and reduce service quality."

Verizon has maintained for more than a year that it has completed its planned FiOS buildout and said its shareholders have been vocal about not spending more to expand its footprint. Last year, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said the company would instead look to increase penetration in areas in which it already had established service.

For more:
- see this MCN article
- see this Hillicon Valley blog

Related articles:
Verizon launches FiOS TV in Medford, Mass., faces off with Comcast
New Verizon CEO McAdam will try to make wireline side 'entrepreneurial,' seek deals with unions
Verizon weighs expanding Flex View VOD service to non-subscribers
Verizon plans new push for FiOS services in next two years