AT&T, BellSouth Regulatory Block

9 Comments

Earlier this week when we wondered if the AT&T, BellSouth deal was going to face some regulatory issues, we had no idea that things would get this out of control. You see, one FCC commissioner decided to recuse himself, which meant that the FCC is now squarely divided. Democrats want concessions from AT&T & BellSouth. Kevin Martin is being Kevin Martin – that is phone company’s best friend. So we have a détente.

And if that is not enough, XO and Nuvox have filed complaints against the merger. AT&T wants to do the deal and is ready to make some concessions. Whatever happens with the AT&T-BellSouth merger (a minor bump in the road is how I view it), one this is clear: FCC is not doing its job and watching out for people who actually pay FCC’s bills – the US citizens.

9 Comments

DEC

Om said: “I am not sure if they are selling it to AT&T, but FCC needs to kind ensure that there is a smattering of competition. Between cable and bells, we got no choice. Bah!”

Come on, this is not 1984. There’s plenty of competition from cable and satellite.
Various forms of fixed and mobile broadband are maturing quickly (e.g. HSDPA, WiMAX). Verizon is spending $18B to reach 19 million homes with their FiOS network. Cablevision is considering going private in order to compete with FiOS and AT&T Lightspeed.

Competition for broadband services is alive and well.

Amit Chowdhry

“I am not sure if they are selling it to AT&T, but FCC needs to kind ensure that there is a smattering of competition.”

This is definetely true. The FCC is making it the 10-day postponement sound like such an obligation whereas AT&T shareholders don’t mind:
“Investors appeared to shrug off the delay. AT&T shares closed Friday unchanged at $33.60 [Reuters].”

This is a $67 billion dollar deal! And since AT&T would build lots of power with this deal, I don’t want to be the one screwed with paying AT&T monopolistic prices. Everyone needs an Internet connection and having very limited suppliers would not do us any good.

Nice coverage, GigaOM.

Jose Figueredo

Om,

Naked DSL should be a requirement for the merger to be approved, and let’s not forget emerging technologies like WiMax, which to my surprise is being deployed in Latin American countries with great success.
Are we becoming the next “Banana Republic” with the help of the FCC?

Om Malik

I am not sure if they are selling it to AT&T, but FCC needs to kind ensure that there is a smattering of competition. Between cable and bells, we got no choice. Bah!

Mark

I agree, Om. The FCC is selling the Internet to AT&T. At what cost, of course.

Matt S

Wow, Democrats preventing a vote! Hard to imagine. The IPDemocracy link has some interesting political insights, but that Tim Karr stuff is absurd. He seems to think that the merger is somehow about “women and people of color”. Funny, I thought it was about telecoms…

rick

Just make AT&T offer DSL without having to pay for their phone service!!!

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