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Backlash hits Verizon Wireless cable deal

As the Senate Judiciary Committee antitrust subcommittee plans a hearing tomorrow on Verizon Wireless's proposed deal with Comcast, Time Warner, and Cox, thousands of consumers are mobilizing against the deal in communities across the country.

An online petition has gathered over 85,000 signatures from consumers against the deal.

In addition, in the days leading up to the hearing, members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers  (IBEW) have flooded the Capitol to speak with their legislators and hand deliver thousands of letters expressing constituents' outrage over Verizon's proposal.

The deal, which has been covered here in Speed Matters, would produce an unchecked monopoly by the nation's largest cable and wireless companies. The result would end competition, raise prices for consumers, kill thousands of jobs, lower service quality and discontinue the development of high-speed internet infrastructure.

The deal would end the build-out of Verizon FiOS, the only all-fiber optic commercial network in America, ending cable and broadband competition. This lucrative deal will kill VErizon's incentive to compete with cable and end FiOS development to new areas. Cities such as Baltimore, Buffalo, Albany, Syracus, and Voston, which were bypassed by Verizon FiOS, will never get the network, nor will any rural areas.

Moreover, the proposed deal will phase out thousands of high-quality jobs - the skilled positions that have built and serviced Verizon wireline, including FiOS. The cable companies, in comparison, rely on low-wage, low-benefit employees and equally low-wage independent contractors.

As CWA President Larry Cohen said, "This deal will freeze then diminish wireline buildout. In short, we need policy that brings 100 percent of our nation into the 21st Century information-based global economy."

Many CWA and IBEW members and leaders plan to attend the hearing. For "those who can't be there in person will be able to watch via livestream and comment on the proceedings on twitter using the hash tag #monopoly."

In the meantime, you can enjoy CWA's stop-action animated monster video, Verizilla.

Verizon online peititon (CWA webiste, Mar. 2012)

CWA asks FCC to "stop the clock" on spectrum deal (Speed Matters, Mar. 4, 2012) (website)

Verizilla video (CWA, Mar. 2012)