Broadcasting & Cable: With Starks’ ‘No,’ FCC Wraps Up T-Mobile-Sprint Vote
Broadcasting & Cable: With Starks' 'No,' FCC Wraps Up T-Mobile-Sprint Vote
With the dissenting vote of Democrat Geoffrey Starks joining that of Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel earlier in the day, the FCC has now voted 3-2 to approve the T-Mobile-Sprint merger.
The Republican majority had voted earlier to approve, giving the deal the necessary votes, but the Democrats had to be given time to cast their votes, which they did Wednesday (Oct. 16), before it was officially approved.
The Justice Department has already said it would not sue to block the deal after various conditions were added to address its antitrust concerns. But Starks made it clear he still had plenty of concerns that were not addressed, including after the announcement earlier in the day that the companies had struck an understanding with civil rights groups on diversity initiatives in a memorandum of understanding that struck some as echoing commitments made by Comcast in its purchase of NBCU. …
“The majority-FCC’s vote to approve the disastrous T-Mobile-Sprint merger is a vote to raise prices, reduce innovation, and price out millions of low-income and marginalized communities from wireless service, “said former FCC chairman and current Common Cause special adviser Michael Copps. “All of the evidence shows that this deal is inherently illegal under antitrust law and does not meet the public interest criteria the FCC is required to follow. Rather than actually conduct a thorough public interest review of the merger, the majority at the FCC signaled it would approve the deal months ago pointing to promises and commitments made by T-Mobile and Sprint. But these promises and behavioral conditions are unenforceable and riddled with loopholes that do nothing to address the significant harms consumers would face from the merger.”