Advanced Television

AT&T/DirecTV want speedy FCC approval

October 20, 2014

By Chris Forrester

AT&T has asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to speedily approve its planned $48.5 billion take-over of DirecTV. AT&T filed its request in Washington, and argued that its move on DirecTV is very different from the merger between Time Warner Cable and Comcast.

AT&T further used the filing to rebut criticism from some of its rivals, not least Netflix which had stated that AT&T allowed Netflix traffic to become congested.  “Now, even by Netflix’s own account, the new arrangement is working well for Netflix and its customers. Nothing about this history suggests the need to apply conditions on this transaction,” said AT&T’s filing.

In an 82-page filing AT&T said its plans would result in lower prices to consumers, and more competition for terrestrial-based consumers. “To begin with, unlike the Comcast/Time Warner Cable transaction, this merger does not add existing broadband assets to AT&T’s broadband network, and thus does not increase AT&T’s market presence in broadband,” argues AT&T’s filing, adding that neither AT&T or DirecTV have a programming arm like Comcast’s NBCUniversal.

“Opponents’ efforts to show countervailing harm to consumers are unpersuasive and, in many cases, transparent attempts to advance parochial agendas. On this record, including AT&T’s voluntary commitments, the Commission should approve the transaction swiftly.”

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