FCC to restart review of Verizon’s $1.8bn deal to buy XO Comms

22 July 2016 | Jason McGee-Abe

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will restart its 180-day review of Verizon’s acquisition of XO Communications as a result of information requests from both firms not being submitted by July 7

In a letter to the carrier’s counsel on Wednesday, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau chief Matthew DelNero said: “We will restart the clock upon completion of the applicants’ responses as discussed herein.” The FCC typically has an “informal 180-day time clock for review of these applications,” DelNero added.

In February, Verizon announced that it had signed an agreement to acquire the fibre-optic business of XO Communications for a fee of around $1.8 billion. Competitors such as Dish Networks have argued the deal would stifle competition and give unfair control of critical 5G spectrum. It recently argued to the FCC: “XO Communications serves as a significant, independent alternative path into at least some of Verizon’s U.S. network.”

Verizon, which plans to use XO’s fibre optic network in its 5G wireless rollout plans, said it planned to supply all of the information that the agency had requested. “Verizon and XO Communications have already provided substantial data to the FCC and we’ll continue to work together with them and other regulatory agencies to provide all requested information,” a spokesman said. “We’re confident the approval process will continue to proceed in a timely manner.”

Verizon also has an option to buy XO’s airwave rights in 2018.