Last Friday, Verizon Communications won FCC approval to sell 4,8 million landlines to Frontier Communications after the agency agreed to accept voluntary commitments that cover the deployment of new broadband facilities and the maintenance of operations support systems. Announced a year ago, the $8.6 billion cash-and-stock deal covers all of Verizon’s landlines in 13 states that include Arizona, Illinois, and South Carolina, and a portion of Verizon’s rural landline network in California. The transaction would also triple the size of Frontier, a key provider of competitive local exchange, video, and broadband services to rural customers in 24 states. Verizon contends that the proposed sale of expensive-to-maintain landlines will better enable it to serve its wireless, broadband, and global IP customers. Opponents have, however, drawn parallels between the Frontier deal and the 2008 sale of Verizon’s New England landline network to Fairpoint Communications in a deal that ultimately forced Fairpoint into bankruptcy. To make the proposed transfer more palatable, the parties presented to the FCC a list of 29 voluntary commitments that, among other things, cover (1) the expansion of broadband services with minimum download speeds of 4 Mbps to at least four million households, (2) the continuation of all of Verizon’s existing wholesale service contracts, and (3) the submission of operations support systems reports to the FCC and affected state regulatory commissions if Frontier transitions from any of the support systems acquired from Verizon within three years of closing. While acknowledging that “no transaction is without risk and this one has its fair share,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski proclaimed that, when the companies’ commitments are taken into account, “the likely public interest benefits outweigh the potential public interest harms.” The parties are expected to complete the transaction in July.