Posted on: October 2nd, 2015
As the Chairwoman of Comptel (www.comptel.org), telecommunications’ leading trade organization, and the owner and CEO of TSI (www.tsicorp.net), a 28+ year telecom carrier business, the critical accomplishments of Comptel in maintaining and promoting a healthy and competitive environment are invaluable and benefit us all. The specific event at hand is FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s Order to approve the AT&T/DirecTV merger, with conditions, as outlined in his statement below; as well as Comptel’s role in this event, as outlined in the second article below. Comptel filed in the proceeding to have the FCC address Internet interconnection, programming pricing and competitive access issues, and was pleased to see the Chairman hear us. This is another significant win for Comptel members and consumers. We expect the Commission to vote on the Order soon and will keep you updated.
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STATEMENT OF FCC CHAIRMAN TOM WHEELER ON RECOMMENDATION CONCERNING AT&T/DIRECTV TRANSACTION
In light of news reports concerning the AT&T/DirecTV transaction, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler issued the following statement: “An order recommending that the AT&T/DirecTV transaction be approved with conditions has circulated to the Commissioners. The proposed order outlines a number of conditions that will directly benefit consumers by bringing more competition to the broadband marketplace. If the conditions are approved by my colleagues, 12.5 million customer locations will have access to a competitive high-speed fiber connection. This additional build-out is about 10 times the size of AT&T’s current fiber-to-the-premise deployment, increases the entire nation’s residential fiber build by more than 40 percent, and more than triples the number of metropolitan areas AT&T has announced plans to serve.“In addition, the conditions will build on the Open Internet Order already in effect, addressing two merger-specific issues. First, in order to prevent discrimination against online video competition, AT&T will not be permitted to exclude affiliated video services and content from data caps on its fixed broadband connections. Second, in order to bring greater transparency to interconnection practices, the company will be required to submit all completed interconnection agreements to the Commission, along with regular reports on network performance. “Importantly, we will require an independent officer to help ensure compliance with these and other proposed conditions. These strong measures will protect consumers, expand high-speed broadband availability, and increase competition.”
AT&T DirectTV Merger Conditions Reflect Power of Open Internet and Interconnection Movement
WASHINGTON DC (July 21, 2015) – Yesterday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler announced an order recommending that the AT&T/DirecTV transaction be approved with conditions, and was circulated to the other Commissioners.
COMPTEL, the competitive networks association, has called for the inclusion of interconnection requirements as a condition to the merger in filings to the FCC.
In response to the announcement, Chip Pickering, CEO of COMPTEL, released the following statement:
“COMPTEL, has long advocated for an open interconnection policy, and under Chairman Wheeler’s leadership, the Commission established a just and reasonable standard for Internet interconnection practices to protect and promote an open Internet and a more competitive marketplace. “The Comcast merger was withdrawn over interconnection and other broadband concentration concerns, and since the Open Internet Order, several major interconnection agreements have been agreed to in the marketplace. “Just last week, Charter announced modifications to its interconnection policy and its willingness to live by them as a condition to its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable and Bright House. These recent developments in the marketplace have been based on the industry standard of no access fees for transit providers, content delivery networks, and over-the-top content providers that bring the traffic to the doorstep of the broadband Internet access service provider. “We’re pleased to see interconnection taking center stage in the Commission’s Order on AT&T/DirectTV. The transparency condition gained in this merger will give the Commission the tool it needs to review AT&T’s interconnection practices to determine whether it is living up to the industry’s standard of no access fees. “The combined progress made on interconnection promotes an Open Internet and a more competitive marketplace for over-the-top content, applications, and services. These competitive gains are significant and measurable. The Chairman and Commission’s comprehensive actions are responsible for this tangible movement on what is the first amendment of competition policy—interconnection. COMPTEL commends the Chairman for achieving another major step on the road to greater competition.”