Net Neutrality Links
I’m adding this link to the Net Neutrality Page.
This is stunning news. The Justice Department has OK’d, with a simple press release, a massive merger between Bellsouth and AT&T with no conditions and without a consent decree or judicial review, effectively reconstituting much of the old AT&T monopoly. The new AT&T will control nearly half of the landlines in the country, and the CEO of AT&T is already on record essentially saying he’s going to get rid of net neutrality.
Over the past decade, there has been a wave of telecom mergers, and these have concentrated the telecommunications business quite radically. Prior to a merger, the DOJ usually goes through with consent decree in which it describes possible concerns and conditions for a merged entity, which are then reviewed by a judge. That’s what both Republican and Democratic Congressmen asked the Department of Justice to do in this case as well.
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This move, to sidestep judicial review of this merger, is a slap . . . not only at Republicans and Democrats in Congress, it’s also a slap at the Judicial branch, which the DOJ has stripped of power, because judges have shown an unwillingness to accept the idea that concentrating power like this has no anticompetitive effects.
The last check on this merger is the FCC, which may make its decision tomorrow. The FCC needs to include net neutrality provisions as part of the merger conditions, or else AT&T is going to begin its massive merger and planned capital expenditures with the understand that it can discriminate against content. Write the FCC using this tool provided by Freepress. You can find out a lot more about the AT&T-Bellsouth merger here: http://www.freepress.net/att/
WASHINGTON – The Federal Communications Commission is putting off for a day its consideration of AT&T Inc.’s proposed takeover of BellSouth Corp., a mega-merger that some government officials want to examine more closely.
An FCC vote is the final major regulatory hurdle facing the $78.5 billion deal that would create the nation’s biggest provider of telephone, wireless and broadband Internet services.
The agency had scheduled the merger vote for its Thursday meeting but decided late Wednesday to postpone the discussion. On Friday, the FCC is to take up the AT&T proposal as well as a controversial issue known as “network neutrality,” which deals with whether Internet service providers must provide equal treatment to all traffic on their networks.
The FCC did not say why it was delaying a vote. “We are committed to evaluating merger applications fairly and in a manner consistent with the public interest,” agency spokesman Clyde Ensslin said in a statement Wednesday night. “We are continuing to work to complete our AT&T and BellSouth merger review in a timely manner.”
–ME “Liz” Strauss
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