Sen. Markey: FCC Should Review AT&T-Time Warner Deal

Says that is necessary to prevent pay TV gatekeepers from gatekeeping

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) says the FCC should get to review the proposed AT&T-Time Warner merger. "[T]he FCC is our telecommunications cop on the beat, and we need it to ensure that marketplace actions don’t harm consumers, stifle innovation, or reduce competition," he said. 

There has been talk that the companies might be able to avoid an FCC review by spinning off a TV station and some satellite licenses, which would mean the Department of Justice would review for antitrust issues, though likely with FCC input anyway.

But Markey says the deal "demands" a review by both parties.

“A review by the FCC would help prevent pay-TV gatekeepers from favoring their own content providers, and blocking minority, diverse, and independent programmers from reaching America's living rooms," he said, echoing FCC chairman Tom Wheeler's arguments for various regulatory efforts. "A review by the FCC would help ensure that Americans can continue to enjoy watching all the content that should be available to them, and that their right to privacy is maintained even when technologies change.”

Markey did not say he opposed, or supported, the deal. But he did say that an FCC review would give it a chance to either "apply pro-consumer, pro-competition conditions if the acquisition is not in the public interest or halt it altogether."