8/11 FCC Petition to Deny Verizon Purchase of Straight Path Spectrum

New America's Wireless Future Project and Public Knowledge filed a petition with the FCC calling on the agency to deny Verizon's proposed acquisition of Straight Path Communications Inc.

Summary:

Public Knowledge and New America’s Open Technology Institute file this Petition to Deny in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s (“Commission” or “FCC”) Public Notice1 regarding the application of Verizon Communications Inc. (“Verizon”) and Straight Path Communications Inc. (collectively, “Applicants”) seeking approval to transfer control of various licenses held by Straight Path subsidiary, Straight Path Spectrum, LLC (together, “Straight Path”). 

The Applicants have not met their burden of showing that the proposed transaction would serve the “public interest, convenience, and necessity,” and that the potential public interest benefits outweigh the potential harms. The potential benefits of Verizon’s intention to use the Straight Path spectrum for 5G mobile broadband pale in comparison to the potential harms. These harms include precluding multiple carriers from using the licenses to provide next- generation services to consumers; permitting Verizon to exceed the secondary market spectrum screen established by the Spectrum Frontiers Order; impeding the Commission from auctioning the Straight Path spectrum so that users that value it most highly can acquire it, which would generate revenues for the Treasury, benefitting taxpayers; and undermining the Commission’s credibility regarding its commitment to enforcing its construction and discontinuance rules and preventing licensees from ripping off the public. Therefore, the Commission should deny the proposed transaction and auction the Straight Path licenses as soon as feasible.