The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approves the AT&T-DirecTV merger. The combined company will be the largest pay TV firm in the United States, as well as in the world. The deal is believed to be key in the company’s effort to diversify away from the U.S. wireless business, where growth has slowed market saturation.
The American multinational telecommunications company got its approval from FCC on Friday, July 24, after more than a year. Reports reveal that the Justice Department had already cleared the deal on Tuesday. Even as an increasing number of TV watchers go online, AT&T becomes the biggest traditional TV provider in the U.S. with its $48.5 billion acquisition of DirecTV.
According to a report by The Verge, FCC approved the deal with conditions, including the expansion of the American telecommunications company’s high-speed internet program. The conditions are also meant to ensure that the merger would still include affordable internet options and offer customers the option to access rival video services online. The conditions would also see AT&T expanding high-speed internet access to more than 14 million potential subscribers, offering discounts to low-income users and options to eligible schools and libraries.
FCC approves AT&T-DirecTV merger, creating the largest pay TV company in the world. According to The Washington Post, the American telecommunications company now has 26.4 million cable and satellite TV subscribers, which is more than Comcast, which is seeking government approval to acquire Time Warner Cable.
AT&T said that it will offer internet service to households that qualify for food stamps for $10 per month or less. The FCC has set the benchmark for high-speed internet at 10 megabits per second or slower, less than the 25 Mbps. An independent compliance officer will monitor how the telecommunications company abides by the conditions laid out by FCC as part of the deal.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Randall Stephenson, AT&T Chief Executive said that the company is fundamentally a different firm now. The company would reveal the updated financial guidance in the coming weeks. John Stankey, the chief strategy officer of the telecommunications company will become the chief executive of a new division called AT&T Entertainment & Internet Services. Mike White, the chief executive of DirecTV plans to retire.
FCC approves AT&T’s $48 billion acquisition of DirecTV, bringing one of the nation’s largest wireless carriers together with the largest satellite TV provider. The U.S. telecommunication company has agreed to abide by the FCC conditions that came along with the approval. An attorney at Public Knowledge, a consumer technology advocacy group however, said that the conditions were not enough to address the fundamental telecommunications issues facing many Americans.
By Anila Maring
Photo by Mike Mozart – Creative Commons License