FCC chairman Wheeler: AT&T-DirecTV merger to be ‘approved with conditions’

23 Jul 2015

In light of news reports concerning the long-running USD48.5 billion AT&T-DirecTV merger, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Tom Wheeler issued the following statement: ‘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 fibre connection. This additional build-out is about ten times the size of AT&T’s current fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) deployment, increases the entire nation’s residential fibre build by more than 40%, and more than triples the number of metropolitan areas AT&T has announced plans to serve’.

Wheeler goes on to note: ‘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’.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, AT&T entered into a definitive agreement to acquire US and Latin American satellite TV provider DirecTV in May 2014. Through its subsidiaries and affiliated companies DirecTV provides digital television services to over 20 million customers in the US and more than 18 million in Latin America. DirecTV also owns 4G wireless network operating licences in a number of South American countries including Brazil (via Sky Brasil), Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Venezuela.

United States, AT&T, DirecTV Group, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)