FCC: Alltel and Verizon's Final Hurdle Is Cleared

Posted by Kallan Dahn Tuesday, November 4, 2008

green check Today, 11/04/2008 the FCC board entered the commission meeting several hours late. The commission meeting that was scheduled for 11 am, entered session approximately 3:30pm. One of the most important pieces of information on the agenda was the proposed merger of Alltel and Verizon. The merger, being hotly contested, was heavily scrutinized by the commission over a period of 4 months. The decision was not unanimous. However, the approval for the merger was granted. McDowell, Adelstein, and Copps officially take the position of "Concurring in part, and dissenting in part." The remaining commissioners including chairman Kevin Martin voted 100% to approve the merger. Commissioner Tate, which voted 100% pro-merger, mentioned that the divested spectrum would be made available to current and potential service providers, thus helping to ensure competition. She also went on to mention that by Verizon agreeing to a 4 year stay on the existing roaming agreements, LTE should become available from another competitor, and sufficient protection from adverse roaming would again provide relief to smaller regional carriers desperate for data roaming service. The FCC placed additional conditions to the merger. A total of 105 markets must be divested, including 5 additional Verizon had not already voluntarily committed to divesting. The carrier will further submit to the FCC's new more stringent policies for E911 and handset emergency location services. These services will be held in check on a county by county basis to allow for more quality control over the E911 system. The FCC has also chosen to phase out ETC's. The ETC's gave carriers a portion of funding for maintaining network in rural areas. This funding was for network maintenance and operational costs. The removal of this benefit helps remove the enormous burden being placed on the Universal Service Fund. This meeting was presided over by Chairman Kevin Martin, with input from commissioners Tate, Copps, Adelstien, and McDowell.

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