AT&T/DirecTV in the Commissioners’ Hands


AT&TAccording to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, conditioned approval of the merger between AT&T and DirecTV is being circulated on the FCC’s 8th Floor.

The merger was not expected to run into the same headwinds as did Comcast/TWC, since the services offered by the two companies are more differentiated.

Both are in the video distribution business, but AT&T’s presence is not huge. And DirecTV is not an ISP.

Wheeler said, “An order recommending that the AT&T/DirecTV transaction be approved with conditions has circulated to the Commissioners. The proposed order outlines a number of conditions that will directly benefit consumers by bringing more competition to the broadband marketplace. If the conditions are approved by my colleagues, 12.5 million customer locations will have access to a competitive high-speed fiber connection. This additional build-out is about 10 times the size of AT&T’s current fiber-to-the-premise deployment, increases the entire nation’s residential fiber build by more than 40 percent, and more than triples the number of metropolitan areas AT&T has announced plans to serve.

“In addition, the conditions will build on the Open Internet Order already in effect, addressing two merger-specific issues. First, in order to prevent discrimination against online video competition, AT&T will not be permitted to exclude affiliated video services and content from data caps on its fixed broadband connections. Second, in order to bring greater transparency to interconnection practices, the company will be required to submit all completed interconnection agreements to the Commission, along with regular reports on network performance.

“Importantly, we will require an independent officer to help ensure compliance with these and other proposed conditions. These strong measures will protect consumers, expand high-speed broadband availability, and increase competition.”