FCC abides by GOP request, deletes everything from meeting agenda
Wheeler’s attempt to impose new set-top box rules that help consumers avoid paying cable box rental fees may also be doomed. Consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge sent a letter to Trump today urging him to side with consumers instead of “cable and Hollywood lobbyists” on the issue.
AT&T, acquiring DirectTV, “vows” to stick to FCC’s Open Internet rules for 3 years
Nathan Mattise, reporting at Ars Technica:
The two companies will demonstrate “continued commitment for three years after closing to the FCC’s Open Internet protections established in 2010, irrespective of whether the FCC re-establishes such protections for other industry participants following the DC Circuit Court of Appeals vacating those rules.”
My first draft of this post was cynical and incredulous, as I am wont to be. But on second thought, it would behoove AT&T to stick to it’s “vow,” if for no other reason than to grease the skids for regulatory approval of the deal. Like I said about Moves and Facebook, it’s hard to blame a company for seeking growth.
While the FCC’s Open Internet rules have been struck down since they were first imposed in 2010, Comcast still abides by those rules pursuant to requirements imposed by the FCC on its purchase of NBCUniversal.
Now that those rules have been struck down, and we’re in limbo while a new rules proposal goes through its comment period, AT&T committing to the Comcast restrictions presumes the FCC will have similar concerns about their purchase of DirecTV. So the worst case scenario for AT&T is that the FCC achieves similar restrictions via the new rules, in which case AT&T is already prepared. And the best case scenario is that the new rules are more lenient than the 2010 rules, and AT&T is even happier.
In fact, the only losers here are consumers. While there is some question about whether this consolidation in the connectivity/content space will cause immediate market overlap and thus a significant reduction in local competition, it’s hard to see how things will get better for consumers as a result of this vertical integration over time.