Federal justice department has no problem with AT&T's takeover of DirecTv

3 July 2015 by Steve Blum
, , ,

Move along. Nothing to see here.

AT&T’s purchase of DirecTv is about to get the green light, without any inconvenient conditions, at least from the federal justice department. That’s the word from Bloomberg, which has a pretty good track record on this kind of reporting. According to a story by Todd Shields and David McLaughlin

Justice Department officials closed their investigation without demanding any conditions, such as promises about fair treatment of Internet traffic, or demanding the sale of business units, said the person who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.

The final decision about the review rests with the antitrust division’s leadership.

That’s one hurdle. The other is the Federal Communications Commission, where

The companies have said they will expand broadband coverage. AT&T had promised for three years to honor FCC open-Internet restrictions established in 2010. Since the promise, the FCC has set new rules, and AT&T has joined legal challenges to them.

That expansion of broadband coverage is still notional, at best. In a heavily redacted filing with the FCC, AT&T says if the DirecTv purchase is approved it’ll deploy “fiber-to-the-premises” (FTTP) to 11.7 million “customer locations” and implies that figure is two million more than it would have been without the deal. Given AT&T’s preference for deploying fiber to office buildings in dense and lucrative central business districts, you can arguably rack up a lot of customer locations without going very far.

It would be helpful if the FCC required AT&T to tell it and us exactly what that means.