Advanced Television

AT&T: ‘DirecTV merger in public interest’

June 12, 2014

By Colin Mann

AT&T has filed paperwork at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) hoping to convince regulators that the proposed $49 billion merger between the two companies is in the public interest.

AT&T says the FCC that the merger would allow the combined company to offer the kinds of products that consumers want, including video content across multiple devices and bundled offerings that include television and Internet services. AT&T says that while DirecTV offers satellite television, it has no Internet component, and while AT&T offers Internet, the company doesn’t have television offerings that can compete with cable MSOs Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

“This transaction will unite two companies with uniquely complementary assets to create a strong, national competitor that delivers consumers an unparalleled combination of broadband, video and wireless services,” the company wrote in the filing.

According to AT&T, the cost savings from the deal will allow it to build out its wireline Internet service to two million households and its fixed wireless Internet service to 13 million households, largely in underserved rural areas, the company said. Additionally, AT&T pledged to, for three years after the deal is closed, uphold the FCC’s now-defunct net neutrality rules and offer standalone AT&T Internet service and DirecTV television service at reasonable prices.

“In sum, this transaction will enable the combined AT&T and DirecTV to meet the challenges of this new competitive marketplace with improved services and bundles, foster increased competition in broadband and video, and give consumers better choices than are possible today from either company on a standalone basis. For these reasons, the transfer applications should be approved promptly,” it declared.

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