DOJ Clears Way For AT&T-DirecTV Deal, FCC's Wheeler Lends Support For Commission Approval
July 22, 2015 at 4:37 AM (PT)
With the Department of Justice indicating that it will not block the AT&T-DIRECTV merger, FCC Chairman TOM WHEELER added his support for the Commission to approve the $48.5 billion deal.
WHEELER issued a statement saying, “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%, 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.”
The DOJ's antitrust division closed its investigation of the proposed merger, with Assistant Attorney General BILL BAER announcing TUESDAY that it had decided that the transaction "does not pose a significant risk to competition."