MacRumors
MacRumors

How many times must AT&T lie about their future plans during merger discussions to get approval?

Currently, AT&T continues trying to get approval from the Federal Communications Commission for its $49 billion cash-and-stock acquisition of pay-TV operator DirecTV. In order to get such approval, AT&T says they are willing to make “voluntary commitments that keep the public interest in mind, including expanding broadband coverage and offering cheaper plans.”

Essentially, they are saying whatever they want in order to get the merger approved.

“If they’re going to make deployment conditions, great, but let’s make them as specific as possible. “There’s a long history of programs that haven’t panned out.” – John Bergmayer, senior staff attorney at Public Knowledge

As I have discussed last year, AT&T has quite the history of making “voluntary” promises which never remotely see the light of day. In 2004, AT&T made promises to provide 100 Mbps broadband to every home in their 22-state footprint in exchange for keeping out Verizon FiOS and UVerse competition (t/p DSLReports). In 2007, AT&T again promised again to provide 100 Mbps speeds if they were allowed to buy BellSouth. None of which happened.

AT&T has also promised the FCC that they would deploy gigabit service to over 11 million people if the merger was approved. There is not a single percent chance of that ever occurring in the next decade, merger approved or not. AT&T admits to as much in their own stockholders meetings.