The future of AT&T could be shaped by two big decisions in Washington this week, with the Justice Department suing the telecom giant on Monday to block its $85 billion purchase of Time Warner and the Federal Communications Commission announcing a plan Tuesday to roll back net neutrality rules, handing a big win to Internet providers.
.. If it wins its antitrust case against the DOJ, AT&T could buy Time Warner without offering any concessions to the government. It could then benefit from the repeal of the government’s net neutrality rules, allowing it to leverage Time Warner’s massive library of shows, television stations and films like few other companies.
- Some, such as May, argued that the loosened regulations would allow AT&T to market Time Warner’s content in new and different ways that could theoretically help Americans.
- Others argue that the combination of a bigger AT&T with a more relaxed regulatory environment could simply increase the firm’s incentives to harm competitors in the marketplace.
.. “One can’t imagine that there are any broadband providers who would be eager to test the limits of what is now allowable under this regulatory regime, given the enormous risk of popular and/or regulatory or legislative backlash,” said Moffett.
.. the combined company could use its newfound control over HBO, CNN and TNT
.. AT&T’s chief executive Randall Stephenson has said that the goal of purchasing Time Warner is to build an advertising behemoth that can compete with Google and Facebook.
.. “The problem from the point of view of DOJ is that if the deal is approved, it will be very hard to police any commitment
.. “The record of such commitments is very poor. The companies do whatever they want. And that’s well understood by everybody.”
Speaking to the Business Insider IGNITION conference in New York City, Bewkes pointed out that the Democratic Party “had a campaign plank to change the First Amendment, and they were doing it in the guise of campaign finance reform.”
Indeed, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton ran on an explicit pledge to change the First Amendment in order to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling, which held that free speech extended to unions and corporations.