WIRELESS INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS RAISE CONCERNS ABOUT IMPACTS OF AT&T-TIME WARNER MERGER; CALL ON FEDERAL AUTHORITIES TO REJECT IT
Washington, DC (December 5, 2016) – The following statement can be attributed to Jimmy Carr of All Points Broadband in Ashburn, Virginia, who chairs the WISPA Legislative Committee:
On behalf of thousands of small businesses that comprise the fixed-wireless broadband industry, and the 3 million mostly rural Americans our industry serves, WISPA believes that AT&T’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner raises serious concerns and should be rejected by federal authorities.
Allowing the proposed merger to proceed would disadvantage the small, entrepreneurial companies that are investing private capital to bridge the digital divide, while further solidifying the market power of the same massive conglomerates that have failed to provide choice and competition in the rural broadband market.
AT&T has recently begun to “zero-rate” (i.e. exempt from data caps) its DirecTV content, and it has stated its intention to expand zero-rating to the Time Warner content it would obtain through this proposed merger. Allowing any ISP to favor certain content has a direct, harmful impact on thousands of small, competitive ISPs that do not own content and lack the ability to negotiate fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory access to content.
We are pleased that Congress will conduct hearings on the effects of the proposed merger. We also appreciate President-elect Trump’s stated opposition to the deal, and we hope that his appointees will fulfill his desire to protect rural Americans from the ramifications of excessive media consolidation.
As with all proposed mergers, the relevant federal authorities should carefully review this transaction to determine whether the dangers it poses to consumers can be prevented with enforceable conditions. If not, the deal should be blocked.
WISPA is a membership-driven trade association that promotes the development, advancement and unity of the fixed wireless internet service provider industry. For more information, visit www.wispa.org.
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