Verizon defends cable spectrum deal at Senate hearing


And Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School who has long been an advocate of network neutrality regulations, argued that a truly competitive market would see wireless broadband services competing with cable companies for home Internet services instead of being offered as part of a bundle package. Wu pointed out that there would be little reason for consumers to buy expensive bundle packages in the future once wireless technologies evolve to the point where they can deliver faster Internet services than today's wireline services.

"4G is a cable replacement, not a complement," said Wu. "It is not clear how selling a replacement can be consistent with selling cable products at the same time... The consumer is served by disruptive innovation, not by bundling. With the advances of Internet services, one service could replace the rest."

Today's Senate hearing came just two weeks after the FCC sent Verizon a letter asking the carrier to deliver a wide range of information on its spectrum holdings and its plans for the spectrum it wants to acquire from the cable companies. Among other things, the letter asked Verizon to detail why spectrum in the prized lower 700MHz band was not suitable for expanding out LTE at a nationwide level; whether the company had considered repurposing spectrum currently used for other services; to provide all analyses about how Verizon would use the companies' spectrum for its LTE services and to detail the cost impacts of adding the spectrum to its LTE portfolio; and to provide a timeline of all talks between Verizon and the cable companies leading up to their proposed spectrum deal.

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