E-Commerce Times – December 10, 2016
by David Jones
AT&T and Time Warner executives this week appeared before a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee to respond to lawmakers’ concerns about their US$84 billion merger. Their testimony came at a time of high public skepticism of institutional power. Rival content and mobile providers applied further pressure with questions about the impact the deal would have on competition and pricing.
AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner would serve to disrupt existing models of traditional cable provider dominance by letting consumers watch television whenever and wherever they wanted to, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights. …
There is nothing about the merger that is in the public interest, argued Christopher Mitchell, director of community broadband networks at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, although he noted that he hasn’t studied the issue closely since Wednesday’s hearing.
“When I speak to small cable companies and ISPs, they are deeply opposed to more consolidation,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “They fear their ability to compete effectively in a world of such giants with so much market power.”
Among the key concerns are the fact that customers who watch Time Warner content on the AT&T network will not be faced with the same bandwidth caps that other networks will charge, thus giving consumers another incentive to switch over to AT&T.