Print 21 comment(s) - last by StevoLincolnit.. on Jul 1 at 10:52 PM

It hopes cost savings will find their way into prices

AT&T's potential acquisition of DirecTV has many feeling skeptical due to the possibility of higher prices and fewer choices for consumers, and the telecom company's latest remarks in hearings with lawmakers didn't seem to ease that skepticism.

According to Reuters, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told lawmakers at hearings in the House of Representatives and the Senate that he can't promise lower prices for consumers "dollar-for-dollar" in the way of savings from lower content fees. 

However, he does see potential savings in other forms. 

"One would have to believe in the market and the market pressures, and that market pressures will compete margins away and cost savings will find their way into prices," said Stephenson.

DirecTV CEO Michael White added that savings could possibly be seen in the way of value bundles, but that committing to lower prices is difficult because of current content prices.

Both companies agree that a merger would allow them to provide rural areas with better Internet services and compete with cable companies.

But many are still concerned about what such a merger means for competition in the cable market, since both AT&T and DirecTV are in the same business. 

The Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will ultimately decide the fate of the merger. 

AT&T and DirecTV announced their $48.5 billion USD merger just last month. 

The merger comes at a sensitive time when consumers, lawmakers and the tech industry are still dealing with Comcast's $45 billion USD purchase of Time Warner Cable. 

Source: Reuters

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By FITCamaro on 6/25/2014 2:50:41 PM , Rating: 2
First off, they're not a complete monopoly. There are competitors in the US. Several.

Second, the monopoly these companies have on an area was given to them by the government. Now instead of remove that, you want them to fix it by making them smaller again. But they'll still have a stranglehold on an area. Meaning you still won't have any more competition in that area.

By Samus on 6/25/2014 5:55:27 PM , Rating: 5
As much as I hate AT&T, I think Verizon is a far more dangerous monopoly. AT&T + Verizon, as companies, account for most internet subscribers, most cable subscribers (in the form of Time Warner and Comcast subsidiaries for Verizon), and most cell phone subscribers.

I don't think people realize exactly how small T-mobile and Sprint are. Together, they have less than HALF the subscribers Verizon does, and still far less than AT&T, which is why the merger may actually succeed between the two.

Comcast/Time Warner should never have been able to merge under the Verizon umbrella. But the lobbyists did their job with a Trojan horse running the FCC.

By Camikazi on 6/26/2014 10:29:00 AM , Rating: 2
Verizon doesn't own either Comcast or Time Warner, Comcast and Verizon have partnerships but they do not have ownership of each other and Time Warner is on its own as well.

By StevoLincolnite on 6/25/2014 5:56:33 PM , Rating: 3
I think a better alternative would be to have their networks opened up for competitors to use.

Many countries only have a single monopoly on the network infrastructure, but have opened up the networks to allot of small players which helped drive down prices substantially.

By FITCamaro on 6/26/2014 7:22:42 AM , Rating: 2
I don't agree with that either. That's similar to how the EU forced Microsoft to basically help its competitors how to compete against it's own products.

Many countries are socialist in nature. The US is not supposed to be. I have no problem with requiring others to build their own network. No one should be forced to product access to what they built so others can compete with them. What you're talking about is nationalizing all telecommunications infrastructure.

Other players are willing to build networks. Verizon and Google for instance. But both are blocked because of the mandated monopolies in an area. They can largely only build in new areas. Get rid of the legal monopolies, allow anyone to build a network, and over time the competition will come in. Yes in rural areas there will likely only be 1 player. But that is the sacrifice you make to live in a rural area. You probably won't have all the choices that those in more populated areas have and you'll likely pay more for it.

By Solandri on 6/26/2014 9:29:53 AM , Rating: 5
That's already how the U.S. sells natural gas, electricity, and long distance phone service. One company owns the pipes or wires, but multiple companies are allowed to sell the gas or electricity or phone service that flows through them.

Socialist or capitalist has little to do with it. Any time you have a situation where the best method of delivery is clear but the best source of the content being delivered is not, it's best to have a single set of pipes/wires, but multiple competing suppliers. Consequently with gas and electricity, we have a single company awarded a contract for building and maintaining those pipes/wires. But they are prohibited from selling the content that flows through those pipes/wires. They're closely monitored by a PUC (public utilities commission) to make sure they're offering fair pricing to all content providers who wish to sell the content which flow through those pipes/wires. They're even allowed to sell content via an independent subsidiary, as long as they don't give it favorable pricing. Long distance phone service is a bit different but the concept is the same. The local phone company owns and maintains the phone lines, but they're prohibited from providing long distance phone service and must provide fair pricing to all long distance carriers.

Alas that's not the situation with cable TV. The company that owns the cables also entirely controls the content that flows through them. This was necessary way back when cable TV was new and it wasn't clear what was the best way to wire up homes. Different cable TV companies would try out different wiring methods and compete with each other. The ones whose wiring methods were better ended up rising to the top. Capitalism at work. (Same thing with cell phone service. Carriers adopted GSM or CDMA, and CDMA ended up winning. GSM eventually added CDMA to its spec for data services, retaining the original GSM spec only for voice calls. Competition allowed a better communication method to beat the government-mandated method.)

But at this point I think it's pretty clear that fiber to the home is where cable TV and cable Internet is headed. Cable should now be recognized as a utility, and regulated as such. The "cable company" can own the physical cables and charge for installing and maintaining it, but they should be prohibited from selling anything that's carried over those cables. Instead, multiple TV and internet companies can compete to sell you the TV channels and internet service you want - the virtual content which flows through those cables.

By StevoLincolnite on 6/27/2014 4:59:29 AM , Rating: 2
Many countries are socialist in nature. The US is not supposed to be. I have no problem with requiring others to build their own network. No one should be forced to product access to what they built so others can compete with them. What you're talking about is nationalizing all telecommunications infrastructure.

I live in a democratic, capitalist nation.
It's exactly how we do it here.

And not only is our broadband faster, it's cheaper too.

By tamalero on 6/30/2014 2:57:51 PM , Rating: 2
I still find it laughable how some people bash the EU. But at same time praise their claim of their nation's
"lobbying for protection" means "perfect capitalism".

By StevoLincolnite on 7/1/2014 10:52:56 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not in the EU. ;)

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