Competitors set heat on AT&T-Comcast deal

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Business rivals of AT&T Broadband and Comcast Corp. are laying out a laundry
list of conditions they want the Federal Communications Commission to impose as
terms for approving the two companies' merger.

EchoStar Communications Corp., which is seeking approval of its own mega-deal with DirecTV
Inc., called on the FCC to close a "loophole" allowing Comcast to deny direct-broadcast satellite
providers access to some regional sports networks.

EchoStar and others made their suggestions in comments on the merger that
were due to the FCC Monday.

EchoStar also touted its deal as a necessary counterweight to compete with the
"veritable colossus" that AT&T/Comcast would become.

Verizon Communications also insisted that favorable regulatory
treatment for regional phone monopolies would provide needed balance
against the AT&T Corp. juggernaut and urged the FCC to OK the deal only if phone
companies' obligation to lease their broadband digital subscriber lines to competitors is
eliminated.

Cable overbuilder RCN Corp. said the merged company must be required to offer
competitors its affiliated programming on "nondiscriminatory" pricing terms and
prohibit exclusive deals between AT&T/Comcast and other programmers.

The new company also must offer uniform subscription prices to deter
predatory rate practices aimed at driving competition out of specific markets,
RCN said.

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