Oneonta's mayor and Common Council members have sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission opposing plans by Verizon Wireless and four cable companies for joint spectrum and marketing services.
The objections cite concerns about access to telecommunications services, the status of the job market and the economy.
Access to advanced networks has been crucial to economic development and growth and is key to improved applications in health care, education, public safety and civic engagement, the letter said.
"As elected officials in a small city in upstate New York, we are deeply concerned that this deal would stifle economic development and job creation in communities like ours, and destroy thousands of existing jobs," the Aug. 7 letter said. "If the proposed deals go forward, it becomes less likely that FiOS will be deployed in small market localities, leaving residents in much of upstate New York without access to state-of-the-art fiber-optic telecommunications."
The FCC has received many comments this year from elected officials, consumer advocates and worker groups.
Under the plan, Verizon Wireless and major cable companies would sell one another's products, and the cable companies would acquire options to sell Verizon Wireless's service, according to a summary on the FCC website.
Verizon Wireless and the four cable companies also have formed a venture to develop technology to better integrate wireline and wireless products and services, the site said. Applications before the FCC seek approval for the assignment of various licenses and don't involve the transfer of companies, customers, facilities or assets and don't seek approval of the commercial agreements.
The Communications Workers of America said Verizon Wireless and major cable companies, under the proposed agreement, would be offering a "quadruple play" of video, Internet access, voice and wireless services that would eliminate competition for consumers. Also, the proposed deal would deter expansion of the FiOS network, "killing thousands of jobs and exacerbating the digital divide," the CWA media release said.
CWA spokesman Chuck Porcari said Wednesday that the issues of jobs and access to services are relevant in rural and urban areas. The coalition of opposition seeks to have conditions added to the federal approval not to have the proposal "killed," he said.
In May, the mayors of nine large cities across the state sent a joint letter to the FCC and the U.S. Department of Justice voicing concerns about the projected negative impact of the marketing plan by Verizon Wireless and cable companies, including Time Warner Cable and Comcast. The mayors said they were "deeply worried that the anti-competitive partnership" will have a negative impact on economic development and jobs and will lead to higher prices, fewer service options and a growing digital divide.
At meeting in City Hall on Tuesday night, Miller and the Common Council considered sending a letter to the FCC.
On Wednesday, Miller said seven of eight council members signed the letter. Bob Brzozowski, member of the Seventh Ward, was absent and unavailable to sign the correspondence, the mayor said.