AT&T Receives FCC Approval on DirecTV Acquisition
Under the FCC approval, AT&T has to meet several conditions, including offering broadband to low-income customers at discounted prices.AT&T's $48.5 billion proposal to acquire satellite-TV provider DirecTV today received Federal Communications Commission approval, causing AT&T to quickly announce the closing of the deal it's been awaiting since May 2014. "Combining DirecTV with AT&T is all about giving customers more choices for great video entertainment integrated with mobile and high-speed Internet service," Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "We'll now be able to meet consumers' future entertainment preferences, whether they want traditional TV service with premier programming, their favorite content on a mobile device, or video streamed over the Internet to any screen." The now-approved acquisition allows AT&T "to significantly expand our high-speed Internet service to reach millions more households, which is a perfect complement to our coast-to-coast TV and mobile coverage," Stephenson continued. "We're now a fundamentally different company with a diversified set of capabilities and businesses that set us apart from the competition." The closing of the merger was made possible after the FCC announced late on July 24 that its members voted to approve the transaction under several conditions, including that AT&T expand its deployment of high-speed, fiber-optic broadband Internet access service to 12.5 million customer locations, as well as provide lower rates for services to schools and libraries, according to the FCC. AT&T and its DirecTV unit are also prohibited from using discriminatory practices to harm online video distribution services and must submit so-called Internet interconnection agreements to the FCC for review under the approval. Finally, the company will also be required to offer discounted broadband services to low-income consumers under the terms of the FCC's approval. The conditions for the deal are in effect for four years.
"The conditions imposed by the Commission address potential harms presented by the
combination of AT&T, one of the nation's largest telephone and Internet service providers, and
DirecTV, the nation's largest satellite video provider," the FCC said in a statement. "The conditions also ensure that the benefits of the merger will be realized."