O'Rielly: AT&T/DirecTV Conditions Less Onerous Than Some - Broadcasting & Cable

O'Rielly: AT&T/DirecTV Conditions Less Onerous Than Some

But suggests commission is still regulating by merger
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FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly Tuesday took aim at the FCC's timeline for approving the AT&T/DirecTV merger and various conditions imposed, then explained that the reason he did not dissent from the conditions--as did commissioner Ajit Pai--was because AT&T and DirecTV indicated they would accept them and "they don’t appear to cause direct harm to other market participants."

In fact, he said the conditions were at least "less onerous than some of those extracted in past mergers"--he did not specify.

O'Rielly voted for the merger, and concurred in the conditions per his explanation above. But he still had plenty of bones to pick with them.

For example, he said the condition on interconnection disclosure, including submitting deals to the FCC, "inches us that much closer to rate regulation."

He called the limitations on usage-based billing "inane." He also said that its imposition of discounted stand-alone broadband for low-income consumers is clearly not merger-specific and will likely increase prices for the majority of customers who will be subsidizing those discounts.

"[T]he Commission just can’t pass up an opportunity to push its own objectives, even if it is unrelated to the matter at hand," he said about some of the conditions.

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