Just before the holiday the FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski circulated an order to fellow commissioners that would refer the AT&T merger to an administrative law judge for review. The decision was based on staff recommendations after examining the consumer harm from AT&T’s proposed takeover of its competitor T-Mobile.
Today the Computer & Communications Industry Association called on the FCC to release its preliminary findings on the dangers of further consolidation in the critical wireless Internet marketplace.
The following statement can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:
“While the Justice Department views this deal to be in violation of antitrust laws, it is up to the FCC to examine the impact on Internet access, pricing and jobs. These preliminary findings by FCC experts are useful information for Internet users, members of Congress and all businesses that depend on wireless Internet access. Too many Internet users and businesses would be impacted by this mega-merger to let critical information be buried by the growing mountain of legal maneuvering by AT&T.
“The FCC was founded under the principle that the public needs access to critical communications infrastructure. This means the FCC should be looking out for threats to wireless Internet access, and designation of this case for a hearing before an administrative law judge, shows that the FCC is taking this responsibility seriously. But in addition to actions to protect wireless Internet access, the FCC should also be informing the public of the depth of the threat from this mega-merger by turning over its research and preliminary findings.”
The following statement can be attributed to CCIA Vice President Cathy Sloan:
“The FCC has spent many months examining the likely impact of AT&T’s proposed takeover of its competitor T-Mobile. As the agency charged with protecting the public interest in affordable telecommunications, the FCC has unique expertise on how this combination would harm consumers and small businesses. That information is now available and should be released immediately. This analysis is vitally important to the future of Internet access and the public has a right to see it.
“Since last spring an FCC task force has spent countless hours examining everything from cell phone pricing and service quality to the effective and competitive use of spectrum and the effects of consolidation on employment in the industry. The results are a valuable, unique work product financed by taxpayers that should not be summarily swept under the rug, particularly while the court case and transaction are still pending.”