Verizon Wireless’s $3.9 billion plan to acquire wireless spectrum licenses held by the SpectrumCo venture and to enter a related cross-marketing arrangement with Cox Communications and the SpectrumCo members was conditionally approved yesterday under a proposed Justice Department (DOJ) consent decree that includes various conditions intended to preserve competition in the markets for video, wireless and broadband Internet services. Simultaneously with the filing of the consent decree with the U.S. District Court in Washington, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced that a draft order recommending conditional approval of the Verizon-SpectrumCo transaction had begun circulating among the FCC’s commissioners. Announced last December, the proposed purchase of Advanced Wireless Service (AWS) spectrum assets held by SpectrumCo members Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and by former SpectrumCo participant Cox will enable Verizon to boost capacity needed to continue nationwide deployment of its fourth-generation LTE wireless broadband network. During a press conference yesterday, Joseph Wayland, the acting assistant attorney general in charge of the DOJ’s Antitrust Division, affirmed that the DOJ had no objections to that spectrum sale, or to proposed spectrum exchanges between Verizon and T-Mobile USA, and between Verizon and Leap Wireless, that are intended to alleviate regulatory concerns over spectrum consolidation associated with the Verizon-SpectrumCo deal. The DOJ’s conditions, however, deal with a series of cross-marketing and other commercial agreements between Verizon and the SpectrumCo members that critics charged would impair competition in the video and broadband Internet markets by eliminating Verizon’s incentive to promote its own FiOS video and broadband service. Under the DOJ decree, Verizon will not be permitted to sell the services of the SpectrumCo members in current or future markets served by Verizon’s FiOS network. For all other markets, the DOJ has mandated a five-year limit for the cross-marketing and commercial agreements, after which the parties must apply for approval to extend the deal. In limiting the scope of the commercial agreements while allowing the spectrum transactions to proceed, Wayland asserted that the DOJ “has provided the right remedy for competition and consumers.” Meanwhile, FCC officials indicated that the agency’s draft order does not require additional divestitures beyond those offered by Verizon in the T-Mobile/Leap Wireless transactions, but conditions approval on the fulfillment of various roaming and build-out commitments that were proposed by Verizon.