FCC Chief Recommends Approval of AT&T $49 Billion Buyout of DirecTV
NEWS ANALYSIS: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler says he is recommending approval of AT&T's merger with DirecTV, subject to some conditions.Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler has recommended that the commission vote to approve AT&T's $49 billion acquisition of satellite television service provider DirecTV with some conditions. "The proposed order outlines a number of conditions that will directly benefit consumers by bringing more competition to the broadband marketplace," Wheeler said in his July 22 announcement. "If the conditions are approved by my colleagues, 12.5 million customer locations will have access to a competitive high-speed fiber connection." This is about 10 times the current total number of fiber connections for Internet access that AT&T has in place or is currently building. The company also announced on July 22 that it was going to upgrade Durham, N.C. to gigabit fiber as its next big project. Wheeler said that the fiber upgrade would increase the current national total by about 40 percent. This would make the AT&T fiber broadband network more than half as large as the Verizon FiOS broadband network that currently reaches about 20.1 million users, according to a Verizon spokesman.
In addition, the conditions for approval by the FCC would require that AT&T build on the FCC's current Open Internet order by preventing discrimination against online video competition and provide greater transparency to its interconnection practices.