AT&T: It's Time To Approve BellSouth Merger

AT&T says it's time to approve the BellSouth merger.

That was the response to the suggestion by incumbent House Energy & Commerce Chairman John Dingell in a press conference Wednesday that the FCC should wait until the new Congress convenes to approve the deal.

“Eighteen state commissions and the U.S. Department of Justice have carefully and fully examined our merger and found that it is the public interest," said Michael Balmoris, executive director of media relations. “Additionally, we have put forth a set of unprecedented conditions unrivaled by any other communications provider in a merger proceeding, and they have been fully examined in an open, public debate and have received glowing approval from a broad range of individuals and groups."

"We look forward to expeditious approval, so we can begin delivering the benefits of our merger to consumers, to the economy and to the public interest.”

Dingell also appeared to be pulling back from his position. In a transcript of a CNBC interview with Dingell supplied by AT&T Wednesday, Dingell said that rather than delay, he was calling for more careful review by Justice--though Justice has already reviewed it and proposed no conditions--and by the FCC.

His office had not returned an e-mail for comment at press time.