Update: House, Senate Leaders Push AT&T/BellSouth Vote


The leaders of the House and Senate Commerce Committees, essentially the FCC's Hill bosses, have asked the FCC to get on with the vote on the AT&T/BellSouth Merger.

They were responding to the news that a vote had been delayed and potential modifications to the deal proposed by AT&T put out for public comment after the vote was blocked by Commission Democrats .

In a statement Friday, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-Tex.), said the FCC has had plenty of time to consider the merger and plenty of input already.

"AT&T and Bellsouth filed an application for transfer of control on March 31, 2006.More than six months have now transpired since that application was filed," they said. "The Federal Communications Commission has conducted a thorough review of the pro-competitive benefits presented by AT&T's acquisition of Bellsouth and has a complete record of comments from interested parties.In fact, at least 60 entities filed more than 10,000 initial and almost 600 reply comments.

"We are concerned by the commission's failure to act on the application this week after such a thorough review and a complete record," they said. "We certainly hope that the delays requested by members of the commission are substantive in nature, although the commission has had ample time to debate the merits of AT&T's acquisition of Bellsouth.The commission has a responsibility to act expeditiously on the AT&T-Bellsouth application so that consumers will have an opportunity to reap the benefits that will emanate from a stronger video and broadband provider in Bellsouth's nine-state region."