The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has paused the ‘shot-clock’ on the proposed USD1.8 billion takeover of XO Communications, by Verizon Communications. In correspondence dated 20 July, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau informed the relevant parties that its investigation into the deal was suspended on 7 July – Day 86 of the regulatory process – due to issues regarding unfulfilled information requests. The sticking points are said to relate to on-net fibre buildings, interconnection agreements, internet backbone networks and Verizon’s plans for XO’s existing Ethernet over Copper (EoC) services.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Verizon agreed to buy XO Communications’ fibre-optic network business in February 2016. XO operates metropolitan networks in each of the 30 major US markets, with over 4,000 on-net buildings, while its intercity network spans 19,000 route miles, connecting 85 cities. Announcing the deal, Verizon said that the takeover of XO’s fibre-based IP and Ethernet networks will help better serve its enterprise and wholesale customers. In addition, the acquired fibre facilities will help with wireless backhaul as Verizon continues to densify its cellular network.
At the time of the deal, the companies said that the transaction was expected to close in the first half of 2017. Separately, Verizon will lease available XO wireless spectrum, with an option to buy XO’s entity (that holds its spectrum) by end-2018.