AT&T buys DirecTV, now biggest traditional TV provider in US

25 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

AT&T Completes Acquisition of DIRECTV.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – AT&T received final U.S. regulatory approval on Friday to buy DirecTV for $48.5 billion, combining the country’s No. 2 wireless carrier with the largest satellite-TV provider.“The Commission’s decision is based on a careful, thorough review of the record, which includes extensive economic analysis and documentary data from the applicants, as well as comments from interested parties.WASHINGTON–The “very different company” executives at Dallas-based AT&T have been promising by the end of 2015 took a very big step toward reality Friday as the Federal Communication Commission approved its acquisition of DirecTV satellite video company.

After more than a year of review, the Federal Communications Commission finalized its vote to approve the merger that creates the nation’s largest pay-TV company, leap-frogging the biggest cable company Comcast Corp.. The approval was not a surprise but many have been wondering what terms the agency would impose on a deal that will create the country’s biggest pay-TV provider, and has implications for internet policy.

Based on this review, the Commission has determined that granting the application, subject to certain conditions, is in the public interest.” With this deal, AT&T becomes the largest pay TV company in the world, with nearly 26 million active subscribers. The vote took place Friday and will become legal binding once the FCC issues its final order, which includes a number of conditions that the AT&T will have to abide by after the deal closes. The acquisition has raised a few eyebrows, especially in the wake of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal that was called off earlier this year, but the FCC went through with approving the purchase while stipulating a few specific conditions as well. The Justice Department, which reviews deals for antitrust concerns, gave the deal its seal of approval on Tuesday, finding no significant risks to competition. They are related to expanding broadband access and preserving competition, and can be summed up like this: The merger go-ahead and conditions were passed by Chairman Tom Wheeler and the agency’s two other Democratic Commissioners.

Additionally, AT&T has more than 132 million wireless subscribers and connections in the U.S. and Mexico; offers 4G LTE mobile coverage to nearly 310 million people in the U.S.; covers 57 million U.S. customer locations with high-speed Internet; and has nearly 16 million subscribers to its high-speed Internet service. It brings AT&T nearly 40 million new customers who buy satellite TV service from DirecTV, a total that dwarfs AT&T’s struggling efforts to build its own video business through its U-verse offering. Announced in May 2014, the merger was slated to give DirecTV the lacking broadband product and AT&T new avenues of growth beyond the maturing wireless service. That list — expansion, restriction, and explanation — may assuage concerns from those who generally oppose the combination of broadband or cable providers. The conditions set down on Friday are consistent with Wheeler’s larger priorities of expanding broadband, and making it affordable to all Americans.

The now-abandoned attempt by Comcast to purchase Time Warner Cable would have resulted in the entity controlling a roughly 40 percent market share of the United States broadband market. Video companies Netflix Inc and Dish Network Corp, traffic company Cogent Communications Holdings Inc and others had pushed the FCC to restrict AT&T’s power to slow down or charge fees for web traffic traveling through its networks, and for protections for rival video services. The issues are addressed by the FCC’s conditions with requirements for AT&T to count its own affiliated video services toward any data caps on fixed broadband connections and to share with the FCC all traffic exchange agreements it strikes with content and web transit companies.

With the completion of its DIRECTV acquisition, AT&T will continue to deploy its all-fiber GigaPower Internet access service – the company’s highest-speed Internet service, which allows you to download a TV show in as little as three seconds. AT&T announced that John Stankey will be CEO of AT&T Entertainment & Internet Services, responsible for leading its combined DIRECTV and AT&T Home Solutions operations. Additionally, the company owns ROOT SPORTS, one of the nation’s premier regional sports networks, and has stakes in The Tennis Channel, MLB Network, NHL Network, and GSN (Game Show Network). This includes its purchase of a majority stake in Fullscreen, a global online media company that works with more than 50,000 content creators who engage 450 million subscribers and generate 4 billion monthly views.

Combined with AT&T’s existing high-speed broadband network, at least 25.7 million customer locations will have access to broadband speeds of 45Mbps or higher. Within its wireline footprint, the company will offer 1Gbps service to any eligible school or library requesting E-rate services, pursuant to applicable rules, within the company’s all-fiber footprint. Within AT&T’s 21-state wireline footprint, it will offer discounted fixed broadband service to low-income households that qualify for the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

AT&T must submit to the FCC new interconnection agreements it enters into with peering networks and on-net customers for the exchange of Internet traffic. Follow our news on Twitter at @ATT, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/att and YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/att. © 2015 AT&T Intellectual Property. LTE not available everywhere. *Global coverage claim based on offering discounted voice and data roaming; LTE roaming; voice roaming; and world-capable smartphone and tablets in more countries than any other U.S. based carrier. Cautionary Language Concerning Forward-Looking StatementsInformation set forth in this news release contains financial estimates and other forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially.

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