Public Interest organizations oppose streamlined review of the Verizon-Tracfone merger

Public Knowledge, Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, and the Open Technology Institute at New America urged the FCC to deny Verizon’s petition for a streamlined review of the Tracfone acquisition and to dismiss the companies’ application as incomplete. 

“The question of protecting Lifeline subscribers from possible harms, and securing for them the benefits promised by Verizon in the Application, should be central concerns to the Commission in considering whether the Application serves the public interest, convenience, and necessity,” wrote the organizations. “Verizon should not be allowed to apply for Commission approvals seriatim, leveraging streamlined transfers for one set of Commission approvals against those requiring more searching inquiry.” 

TracFone is a wireless reseller and the largest provider of Lifeline service. The federal Lifeline program provides a modest $9.25 per month subsidy to low-income households to help pay for communications services. CWA has long supported the Lifeline program and urged the FCC to modernize the program to include broadband, which the Commission did in 2016

Links:

Consumer group Verizon Tracfone FCC filing opposition to streamlining (Public Knowledge, Oct. 20, 2020)