Telecom Merger-O-Rama: AT&T Concedes

AT&T really wants to merge with BellSouth. From Yahoo!:

    “AT&T filed a letter of commitment with the [Federal Communications Commission] Thursday night that adds a number of new conditions to the deal, including a promise to observe ‘network neutrality’ principles, an offer of affordable stand-alone digital subscriber line service and divestment of some wireless spectrum.”

Final approval requires a vote, which can happen at any time via computer. This would be the largest telecom merger in U.S. history. —MEGHANN MARCO

AT&T Compromise May Get Merger Approved [Yahoo! via Slashdot]

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  1. Pasketti says:

    AT&T re-absorbed SBC already. This is about re-absorbing Bellsouth.

    If they assimilate Verizon and Qwest, Ma Bell will live again…

  2. acambras says:

    I thought AT&T and SBC already merged — my phone bill, formerly from SBC, now comes with AT&T’s name and logo splashed across the top.

    I DID hear on NPR this morning that AT&T and BellSouth are looking to merge, and that THAT would be the biggest telecom merger in U.S. history.

  3. 6502programmer says:

    AT&T invalidated these provisions with their IPTV service. Buried, on page ten of the letter, is the simple sentence, “This commitment also does not apply to AT&T/BellSouth’s Internet Protocol television (IPTV) service.” The big bad “tubes” that AT&T wants to use for IPTV are the same ones they want to charge “The Google” and everyone else to ride on.

  4. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    And what was the point of deregulation again? It seems all of these telecom mergers are going to result in one big monopoly again.

  5. billhelm says:

    This is the proposed merger with BellSouth, not SBC. The SBC merger already closed a long time ago.

  6. pronell says:

    The point of deregulation? That’s what was done to the airlines, and the point was to .. bankrupt the airlines, I guess. We’ve had something like twenty years of fairly low airfares, brought about by airlines trying SO hard to compete, they failed to be profitable.

    The point of destroying the Ma Bell monopoly? I’m still not sure, as the local telcos didn’t lead to more competition. There was more competition for long distance, but the prices didn’t drop all that much. In the end, it was still the stagnant, but extremely profitable monopoly, but new technologies came along that made landlines obsolete.

  7. Meg Marco says:

    Changed to “BellSouth” I got “SBC” from Slashdot.

  8. spanky says:

    Those network neutrality parts are very limited in terms of function, applicability, and duration. They’re just trying to get soundbites out saying they’re upholding NN principles. The concessions only apply to certain customers, certain services, a certain timeframe, and they only affect discrimination based on source, owner, and destination. Loopholes everywhere.

    I’m still looking at the letter, but at this point, I am confident that these ‘concessions’ are mostly poop.

  9. synergy says:

    Deregulation is what allows for monopolies. I think it was around 1994 that deregulation started. Before that regulations produced the baby bells. So basically we’re back in the 1980s as far as the phone companies go.

  10. spanky says:

    Ma Bell has had a few major shakeups.

    They operated as a regulated, sanctioned monopoly for many years.

    The company was first broken up in 1956 as a result of an antitrust suit, and was limited to telecom and special projects.

    Then, the 1984 divestiture broke the company up yet again, creating the Baby Bells (RBOCs or ILECs), but deregulating much of the remaining AT&T.

    In 1996, the local exchange market was opened up to competition by the Telcom Bill passed that year. That served to deregulate the Baby Bells to a great extent, but never really resulted in much market competition.

    So pretty much since the 50s, parts of Ma Bell have been breaking off and being deregulated, and now they’re just all merging back together again, but this time without the strict oversight and regulation that they had back when they were a recognized monopoly.