Feeds

FCC pulls AT&T-BellSouth merger vote (again)

Political hot potato

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

The Federal Communications Commission today postponed voting on the AT&T BellSouth merger until November.

The FCC represents the last regulatory hurdle for the two telcos to jump over before their $78bn marriage is sealed. The FCC had intended to vote on the matter yesterday and then again today; but the merger has proved to be a political hot potato.

On Wednesday, the Department of Justice waved through the deal, imposing no conditions. It saw no serious competitive issues or consumer harm arising from the merger which sees the company become the incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) in 23 states.

The DoJ consent prompted angry releases from Time Warner Telecom and Earthlink, who foresee the AT&T-BellSouth mammoth stomping over their business. It also provoked the ire of the FCC's two Democratic commissioners, Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps

In a letter today, they asked their chairman for more time to consider the matter, and to accept further public submissions, before they voted. The time gained would also enable the "applicants to put forward their best proposals."

In a statement today, AT&T said it is "open to discussing with the Democratic FCC Commissioners reasonable conditions on the merger in order to obtain unanimous approval, so long as they do not affect our ability to deliver merger benefits to customers and shareowners, given the intensely competitive environment in which we operate."

The company thinks it has done enough already, but it needs to get this vote through before election time on 7 November. It adds: "We firmly believe, as do three foreign countries, 18 state commissions and the Department of Justice - every regulatory or legal entity that had an obligation to examine the benefits of this merger - that no conditions on this merger are necessary for this combination to be a public benefit.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin supports the merger, according to Reuters. As one of three Republicans on the Commission he has a majority, on paper, anyway. But fellow Republican Robert Dowell may have to recuse himself from voting, as he used to be a lobbyist for small telcos, fighting their corner against the big carriers. If he's out of the picture, Martin will need to get at least one Democrat to vote with him.

In response to Adelstein and Copp, Kevin Martin today agreed to open the floor to public responses for another 10 days. He said the FCC will vote on the matter on 3 November, if it had not voted before then. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.