Sci-tech

FCC chairman says his agency won't review AT&T's Time Warner purchase

FCC chairman says his agency won't review AT&T's Time Warner purchaseā€

Separately this week at Mobile World Congress, Pai indicated there's "no current reason" for the Commission to review AT&T and Time Warner's proposed merger since no spectrum licenses will be transferred.

"My understanding is that the deal won't be presented to the commission", Pai told the Journal.

Time Warner (TWX) shares rose 1%.

As of now, the Justice Department is reviewing the merger closely.

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Regardless of interagency disagreement about the impact of the move, it was expected as the commission leadership shift after President Donald Trump's election had already indicated rolling back a number of regulations put into place previous year when the agency was led by Tom Wheeler.

"I don't want to comment on any specific deal, but I do believe there has to be competition in the marketplace and maybe even more so with the media because it would be awfully bad after years if we ended up having one voice out there", Trump said Monday in an interview with the alt-right website Breitbart News, once presided over by his chief strategist Stephen Bannon.

But AT&T has maintained that it is optimistic the deal will survive government review. "It is the very limited role of looking at the papers that are in front of me and rendering a decision based on the facts and the law, because once I stray from that mission, then I become nothing more than a political actor as well, and I take my role seriously as defending the public interest and not the particular private interests of any company or person". The Office of Management and Budget found that under the new transparency rules, it would take each broadband provider 6.8 hours annually to adhere to the reporting requirements, according to Clyburn. The DOJ, on the other hand, has to actually prove the deal is anti-competitive, which is a taller order. There will not be a filing with the FCC.

The rules require broadband providers such as AT&T Inc., Charter Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp.to get customer permission before using or sharing sensitive personal data.

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Under the purview of the FCC, Time Warner only has WPCH-TV, a broadcast station, and a few smaller licenses, Reuters reported.

He warned, however, that "it's not a forgone conclusion that we will fully realize this technological potential".

Pai seems to be satisfied with this, and is signaling that his agency will not try and step in.

"I think we're excited only because we have a person that finally values broadcasting as part of an overall media mix, and he knows the issues", Donovan said. AT&T noted DirecTV Now as an example of that, but promised there is more to come in terms of innovation and experimentation for video services.

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