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DOJ, FCC clear Verizon buyout of cable companies' spectrum, require giving up some airwaves (update: not quite for the FCC)

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Verizon has been fighting hard to get its acquisition of cable companies' wireless frequencies past legal hurdles, and it just surged over the most important of the bunch: both the Department of Justice and the FCC have signed off on the agreement. To get the $3.9 billion deal through the door, Big Red will have to offload some of its spectrum to other companies, the FCC argues. The DOJ, meanwhile, is more concerned that Verizon is getting a little too cozy with Bright House, Comcast, Cox and Time Warner Cable in terms of marketing and reselling bundles that include cellular and cable access. Closing the deal also requires setting up a new joint venture in technology research. We're still working to learn the full details of the deal, but the spectrum handover will likely give a swift kick to Verizon's 4G capacity -- and anger a few rivals who wouldn't have wanted any handover to go through.

Update: Since we posted, it's become clearer that FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has only recommended a vote in favor of the deal; the agency hasn't formally greenlit the deal just yet.

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