FCC pauses shot clock on AT&T-DirecTV merger, as Andreessen and Cuban offer their support

The FCC has paused the 180-day "shot clock" on its review of the pending AT&T/DirecTV merger, as it decides how to handle sensitive documents relating to the pay-TV operators' respective deals with media companies.

The Federal Communications Commission paused its similar review period for the proposed merger of Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) earlier in October. 

Programming conglomerates including CBS Corp. and Fox have expressed concern about confidentiality as the FCC collects information on how the affected operators conduct business. The FCC says it needs time to figure out how to handle this sensitive issue. 

Meanwhile, as that other big proposed pay-TV mega-merger has seen increasing amounts of flak thrown at it via FCC filings, the suggested union of AT&T (NYSE: T) and DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) seems to be mounting powerful backers in the media technology world.

In separate filings to the Federal Communications Commission, influential media-technology gadflies Marc Andreessen and Mark Cuban urged the regulatory approval of AT&T's $49 million purchase of DirecTV.

"Unlike other mergers during the past few years, the proposed combination of these unique complementary assets speaks to the enhancements of our nation's broadband infrastructure in the 21st century," Andreessen writes. "...The merger will result in a much broader, rural wireless footprint utilizing a new fixed wireless technology, as well as deeper fiber penetration which will produce more broadband infrastructure capable of supporting the 1 GB networks of tomorrow."

Meanwhile, in a separate FCC filing rendered earlier in October and obtained by Multichannel News, Cuban said the merger would deliver "an expanded high-speed broadband footprint enabling edge providers new means of reaching consumers with OTT services over a variety of platforms."

For more:
- read Marc Andreesen's FCC filing
- read this Baltimore Sun story
- read this Washington Post story
- read this Multichannel News story

Related links:
AT&T-DirecTV to FCC: We're not like that other merger
DirecTV and NFL ink Sunday Ticket deal: 8 years at $1.5B per year
Analysts: AT&T-DirecTV deal benefiting from Comcast-TWC heat
AT&T-DirecTV combo promises new challenges for Comcast-TWC merger