The FCC Says the Court Made an Error in Approving AT&T/Time Warner Merger





Watching tv and using remote control

Watching tv and using remote controlThis week the Federal Communications Commission came out in support of the Department of Justice’s attempt to reverse the AT&T/Time Warner merger. The FCC filed a court briefing supporting the DOJ’s attempt to overturn the approval of the AT&T/Time Warner merger this week.

“While the Commission takes no position on the relevance of any document in this case, it is concerned that two of the rationales supplied by the district court for discounting the probative value of submissions made to the FCC could reflect a misunderstanding of Commission procedures,” the FCC wrote.

The FCC is hoping to be able to use the AT&T and DIRECTV comments when NBC and Comcast merged as leverage to enforce similar limitations that Comcast had to agree to before they could merge with NBC Universal.

So, what does this all mean? The FCC is hoping that at minimum an appeal would allow the DOJ and FCC to impose limitations on the AT&T/Time Warner merger. At best it looks like they are hoping an appeal would force AT&T to undo the merger.

The FCC is not alone in this. This week the American Cable Association, which represents small- and medium-sized cable companies, joined the advocacy group Public Knowledge in an effort to overturn the earlier court ruling.

For now, we will have to wait and see what happens to the appeal, yet don’t look for this to be resolved anytime soon.

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