With approval of the $49 billion merger of AT&T (NYSE: T) and DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) nearing, executives for Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) and Cogent Communications reportedly met with FCC officials last week and asked them to impose restrictions on the combined operation as it relates to online video.
According to Reuters, Dish, Cogent and a number of advocacy groups are concerned about what would be AT&T's enhanced power as an Internet service provider. Among other conditions, they are asking the Federal Communications Commission to demand that AT&T sell its broadband service as a standalone product, offering similar pricing and speeds as those Internet services made available in bundles.
They're also asking that the FCC mandate that AT&T follow its newly passed net neutrality rules for seven years after close of the deal, even if AT&T prevails in a court action to negate those rules.
The group, which also includes Public Knowledge, Free Press and New America's Open Technology Institute, also wants the FCC to impose restrictions as to how AT&T handles Internet traffic from streaming services.
None of these actions imperil the deal: unlike the failed merger between Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), none of the opponents are demanding that regulators strike the merger, only that they impose conditions.
The deal, announced May 17, 2014, is expected to finally close in June.
AT&T has not yet issued a response.
- read this Reuters story
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