Things should start getting intense at the FCC next week, as Chairman Kevin Martin has set Nov. 3 as the date for a decision on the $80 billion AT&T takeover of BellSouth.
At issue are the conditions under which the merger will be approved. AT&T, in a last-minute plea to get the deal done, submitted a letter to the FCC on Oct. 13, proposing some conditions. One of those was to abide by the weak Net Neutrality “principles” of the FCC.
PK was pleased to join with the It's Our Net coalition in filing comments asking for something stronger. We fully agree with the proposal in the comments that the Commission should establish an enforceable principle in the merger agreement that requires the newer, larger AT&T to commit to treating in a nondiscriminatory manner all Internet traffic carried by its broadband network. Such a condition in this proceeding will go a long way to establishing Net Neutrality as the foundation for a larger broadband policy.
The Net Neutrality conditions suggested by the Commission for the merger are totally inadequate. As Public Knowledge has consistently maintained, the essence of Net Neutrality is non-discrimination. The Commission should insist on binding non-discrimination language as a condition of this $80 billion merger, and as a policy to be followed generally.
The full coalition comments are here