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Groups want delay extended on Verizon's AWS deal

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 1:51pm
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

Public Knowledge and the Rural Telecommunications Group (RTG) want the FCC to delay its review of Verizon's AWS acquisition for the third time.

The groups, both opponents to the transaction, said in a letter to the FCC yesterday that an additional two-week delay was necessary to account for staff shortages related to the Fourth of July holiday and the "considerable burden" of filing responses on the same day about both Verizon's AWS purchase and the operator's recent decision to transfer spectrum to T-Mobile.

“A brief two-week extension will impose no significant burden,” the groups said. “A delay of two weeks will have no significant impact on Verizon’s deployment schedule, nor will any party to the transaction incur any kind of penalty or late fee from this brief extension.”

The FCC last month decided to put its review of the AWS sale on hold until July 10 to give parties time to respond to Verizon's spectrum swap with T-Mobile, which is related to the AWS deal.

Public Knowledge and the RTG now want that extension pushed out to July 24, since comments on both the arrangement with T-Mobile and AWS purchase are due July 10.

Verizon spokesman Ed McFadden dismissed the need for an additional extension.

“All parties have had and do have ample time to provide comments; there is no need to extend the comment period,” he said.

If granted, the additional delay will result in the FCC stopping its review for a full month, pushing out the closing date for the transaction.

Verizon has said it expects the $3.9 billion purchase of nationwide AWS spectrum from four cable operators to close by late summer, later than the mid-summer close date its executives cited this spring. The transaction was originally announced last December.

The FCC's first delay in the transaction stemmed from Verizon and its cable partners' failure to produce documents on time. The Commission decided in May to add three weeks to its review process after none of the five companies met a March 22 deadline.

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