Big corporate mergers can take a while to complete, but AT&T's proposed acquisition of DirecTV is one step closer. CNN reports FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has recommended regulatory approval of the deal. In a statement to CNN, Wheeler said that the acquisition will "directly benefit consumers by bringing more competition to the broadband marketplace." CNN also noted that an AT&T-DirecTV merger is different from the failed Comcast-TWC merger because neither AT&T nor DirecTV control programming like Comcast. DirecTV also doesn't provide broadband service to as many households.
The conditions for the sale that Wheeler proposed in his recommendation are meant to protect customer access to online video services. AT&T will be required to submit regular network performance reports to the FCC. According to CNN, the agency will use an "independent officer to help ensure compliance with these and other proposed conditions."
In a separate statement, the Justice Department said it will not oppose the deal. Antitrust Division Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer announced, "After an extensive investigation, we concluded that the combination of AT&T’s land-based internet and video business with DirecTV’s satellite-based video business does not pose a significant risk to competition."
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