FCC wants your help to decide if T-Mobile should be allowed to buy fiber internet provider

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FCC wants your help to decide if T-Mobile should be allowed to acquire another company
T-Mobile is on an acquisition spree. The carrier bought Mint Mobile and Ultra Mobile's parent company Ka’ena in April and revealed its intentions to buy most of U.S. Cellular a month later. The company also expressed its desire to acquire fiber internet provider Lumos in late April and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is now seeking comments on the proposed acquisition.

The  FCC allows the public to submit comments before a decision about important telecommunications or broadcast issues. According to a new report, the FCC has opened the comment period on T-Mobile's Lumos purchase. You have until July 12 to submit your comments.

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T-Mobile will team up with global investment organization EQT to buy Lumos, with the former investing $950 million initially for a 50 percent stake. The two will form a joint venture to bring fiber access to underserved Americans.

T-Mobile already offers 5G home internet and also offers fiber optic home internet in limited markets. The company says it can't satisfy current broadband demand "through its fallow capacity fixed wireless product alone," and many customers desire speed and reliability that is only possible through fiber.

Lumos provides fiber internet services to approximately 320,000 households and businesses in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. T-Mobile and EQT expect their investments to allow the network to serve more than 3.5 million homes by the end of 2028.

T-Mobile offers fiber services by partnering with companies that operate networks and sell wholesale access to other entities. It's likely that the company will follow this same open-access model after acquiring Lumos.

T-Mobile is currently America's fifth largest internet service provider with a customer base of around 5 million. The company hopes to close the Lumos deal by late 2024 or early 2025.

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Like other deals, it's subject to regulatory approval. T-Mobile and Lumos are trying to convince the FCC to approve the deal by saying it's not anti-competitive and will help them provide broadband services to communities that currently don't have fiber.

The parties involved won't be discontinuing any existing services and the deal will enhance Lumos' capabilities, so "it will not cause any diminution in competition."

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