AT&T/DirecTV Merger Approved By FCC, Agency Forces Fiber Expansion And More

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SaintAsuraka

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Aug 24, 2013
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The author of this article seems to be this sites go to guy on all things FCC. His articles read like love notes to the wonders of the regulatory state. This article is embarrassing in its gushing nature. I have read several articles like this now and just couldn't stand it anymore.
 


I enjoy seeing companies actually improving the Internet inside of the United States, upgrading their networks, and offering fair rates to customers. For over a decade now telecommunication service providers haven't opted to take advantage of their customers with secret unauthorized charges, service that is slower than advertised, and have done relatively little to improve service inside of the U.S. As a result, we not only pay a gratuitous amount of money for the service we receive relative to most other modern nations, but we also have significantly slower Internet than many of them too.

I write the way I do on these articles not because I want to glorify the FCC, but because after being limited to a claimed 15 Mbps of Internet service for the last ten years (which actually tops out at 2 Mbps), I'm glad to see that our government is actually doing something to try and improve the situation.
 

junkeymonkey

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not at&t to this day all they cam offer me is 56k dial up I mean 2015 and that's the bset they can do ?? but my phone bill is the same rates as the guys who get there best service .. matter of fact they cant offer call waiting of caller id here in the us of a .. said the phone lines in my area were too old ???

well put in some new lines cheap ass better yet i'll drop your service and just go all wireless [non at&t ] - hows that for you now at&t ?? now they come out here and cry for my business back and wonder why I dropped them .. they just cant understand it ??

what a joke
 

Gurg

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Mar 13, 2013
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Terrible agreement for consumers. Phone/DSL, internet/cable and satellite carriers should be prohibited from merging as it eliminates competition and consumer choices.
 

junkeymonkey

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and funny how none of it is ever available to me where I live ? in like 2 miles is the sprint service area [ just down the road ] there customers [my aunt] get good service like high speed dsl and all -- I don't recall then taking that over and digging ''new lines '' att is just greedy/evil. all I see from then is they send you a bill that's about it ...

''Terrible agreement for consumers. Phone/DSL, internet/cable and satellite carriers should be prohibited from merging as it eliminates competition and consumer choices. ''

you do got a choice - take what they offer or do with out .... heres your bill , thank you

 
I have to agree, internet service and availability in this country has been sad for a long time now. Aging phone lines and the way they set up extensions to the existing wire makes dsl impossible. Wireless coverage in my area is extremely poor. Cable doesn't exist here. Aside from dialup, the only other alternative to 3g is limited laggy satellite connections that cost a small fortune (over $100/mo). You'd think I was located on a remote desert island or out in the middle of the mountains somewhere far removed from civilization when in reality I live less than 2mi from a major highway and 50mi from one of the bigger metro areas in the u.s.

Other nations have far surpassed us in education, now internet connectivity. The wireless here is so slow it may as well be dialup. Trying to watch a simple 4-5min youtube vid at 144p (aka blurry) can take 8-12min or longer to load.

If I were 200mi from civilization in a small village I could understand it but this is ridiculous. Being a directv customer already I can only hope but doubtful I'll see fiber any time soon.
 

Alec Mowat

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Jan 8, 2014
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The author of this article seems to be this sites go to guy on all things FCC. His articles read like love notes to the wonders of the regulatory state. This article is embarrassing in its gushing nature. I have read several articles like this now and just couldn't stand it anymore.
The fear of Government and Regulation is driving people mad and creating an inefficient service for the people. The Government has a function, a role and a million employees. Regulation is not bad at all. That's how poor families in poor neighborhoods get access to utilities that Corporations wouldn't bother expanding too.
Like water and electricity.

It's almost been 8 years, and no one is in FEMA camps, Ebola didn't kill everyone and the economy isn't collapsing. You can take off your tinfoil and join the real world any time now.
 

falchard

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Jun 13, 2008
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Uhh, isn't DirectTV a satellite provider? How will they provide 12.5 million homes with a fiber connection. Also most of ATTs network is fiber to a node, and 50 year old twisted pair to the house. At the house it is then hooked into the CATV lines.
lol j/k. This would be even more successful if the only homes that counted were in rural areas.
Still I don't trust the FCC ever. Allow me to explain why. The FCC had a very important task. To oversee the distribution of the RF spectrum so their is not overlap or interference. Then... they censored radios and broadcast television. They are not known for staying within the limits of their duty. Sure right now they have a hands off approach on the Internet, but that was mainly because of the government we had in the '90s who were heavily influenced by people like Milton Friedman.
 

SaintAsuraka

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"Ebola didn't kill everyone and the economy isn't collapsing. You can take off your tinfoil and join the real world any time now."

Sir I do not doubt the role of government I doubt the competence of it. No one cites the government as a role model for efficiency and up to date standards. I question the competence of a large percentage of those millions of government employees, especially at the top where the corporate board room and the regulatory chairs seem to have highly incestuous relationships. You invite me to join the real world where the high bar for government success seems to be, everyone not dying and the economy not collapsing.
 

The thing is, the problems you experienced with Internet service in the U.S. were caused by government regulation in the first place. So it's not that the FCC is actually fixing anything, it's just fixing what the local governments broke in the first place when they granted local cable and phone monopolies.

If we had actual competition in these markets like in (ironically) Europe, we wouldn't need the government stepping in to enforce things like net neutrality. Any ISP which deliberately slowed down Netflix would've put themselves out of business as their customers fled to ISPs where Netflix streamed just fine. Comcast, Verizon, etc. were only able to blackmaiil Netflix because their customers had no other viable ISP to switch to. No neighbors telling them that their problem must be their ISP because Netflix streamed just fine for them.

Same for the AT&T and DirecTV merger. Most of you are too young, but way back when satellite TV first began, there was a lawsuit to prohibit cable monopolies - i.e. to force local governments to allow at least two cable companies per area. The lawsuit lost because the FCC determined that satellite TV companies provided adequate competition to cable TV. In other words, it was OK to have a cable monopoly because the customer could always opt for satellite TV service instead. Well, now that reasoning has been long forgotten, we have a cable/phone company snapping up a satellite TV company. Exactly what are your choices now if you're in an AT&T monopoly area? Dish? What's to stop AT&T from subsidizing their DirecTV prices with cable revenue to run Dish out of business?

As well-intentioned as regulation may be, you have to always bear in mind that politics, corruption, and nepotism will always creep into the regulatory process. Regulation should be limited to ensuring there's a fair and level playing field for widespread competition, not for approving monopolies.
 

knowom

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"Given that the new definition of broadband is 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up, which is faster than many users currently have, offering an affordable broadband Internet service should help increase competition." So far affordable internet service at those rates aren't being offered to most consumers in fact I haven't seen any progress really thus far from Comcast or Time Warner in doing so. The key word of course is affordable people are all ready paying more now for broadband than they did 10-15 years ago.
 


The government provided some infrastructure support to companies when initially developing these networks, they never prohibited other companies from putting in new networks.

ISPs have openly admitted to their fast-lane policies at this point, so you can't claim that it didn't happen. Comcast is the most notorious incident of this, but other ISPs did this too. Since companies refuse to compete with each other, users regardless of network didn't have the option to switch providers to avoid this problem.

Nothing about this merger gives the impression that competition will be reduced as a result. If anything, since they are forced to increase their fiber optic network, it will likely move AT&T into areas that they didn't compete in before.
 

Please read up on how these things work. The local government solicits bids from various cable providers, and selects one which is given a monopoly. So yes, other companies are prohibited from putting in new networks (unless you're in one of the few areas where the government allows multiple cable companies). When I lived in Boston this was done under the pretense of forcing the winning cable company to provide service to low-income areas (areas which they feared cable companies would have avoided as unprofitable if left to their own). The last city I lived in, this was done in exchange for kickbacks. The company which offered to pay the city the most per household they hooked up won the monopoly. i.e. The citizens were auctioned off by the city to the highest-bidding cable company.
 

alextheblue

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Please read up on how these things work. The local government solicits bids from various cable providers, and selects one which is given a monopoly. So yes, other companies are prohibited from putting in new networks (unless you're in one of the few areas where the government allows multiple cable companies). When I lived in Boston this was done under the pretense of forcing the winning cable company to provide service to low-income areas (areas which they feared cable companies would have avoided as unprofitable if left to their own). The last city I lived in, this was done in exchange for kickbacks. The company which offered to pay the city the most per household they hooked up won the monopoly. i.e. The citizens were auctioned off by the city to the highest-bidding cable company.
Sir, may I remind you that Lord Michael Justin Allen Sexton III does not READ. He is an Author. He writes. One does not need to know about the subject at hand to write about it and make broad proclamations. Never mind that government-imposed monopolies (which he knows nothing about) are the biggest issue. The FCC is going to fix it with all the duct tape and staples it takes!

Now take your facts and logic and put them where they belong - the distant past.
 

jalek

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Jan 29, 2007
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It was government regulators that halted FIOS expansion, wasn't it?
Wait, no, it was shareholders revolting because Verizon was investing in expansion too far ahead of competitors, so they thought it unnecessary.
Local regulatory boards do enable corporations to ignore improvements, with an assured profit margin and a specific amount set aside for expansion, but it seems ridiculous to say they mandate stagnation.
Fiber finally hit this market, and overnight Comcast doubled speeds, speeds they had available for some time but they had no competitive reason to provide. I don't think the local cable regulatory board was even advised.
 

ravewulf

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Oct 20, 2008
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...The thing is, the problems you experienced with Internet service in the U.S. were caused by government regulation in the first place....
The problems are caused by the corporations themselves through buying sway in the government. They buy DEregulation and contracts and get huge returns on that "investment." The government is supposed to police corporations with regulations, but that does no good when the criminals are the ones writing the paychecks for the police. Oil companies, for example, are some of the most profitable in the world and used a small bit of that to buy politicians who then gave them government subsidies to increase their profits even more. Unfortunately all of this is perfectly legal. What we need is to get money out of politics so we can have a real democracy instead of a plutocracy.
 

Daniel Ladishew

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Apr 16, 2014
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Uhh, isn't DirectTV a satellite provider? How will they provide 12.5 million homes with a fiber connection. Also most of ATTs network is fiber to a node, and 50 year old twisted pair to the house. At the house it is then hooked into the CATV lines.
lol j/k. This would be even more successful if the only homes that counted were in rural areas.
Still I don't trust the FCC ever. Allow me to explain why. The FCC had a very important task. To oversee the distribution of the RF spectrum so their is not overlap or interference. Then... they censored radios and broadcast television. They are not known for staying within the limits of their duty. Sure right now they have a hands off approach on the Internet, but that was mainly because of the government we had in the '90s who were heavily influenced by people like Milton Friedman.
I think you've hit a point here. The idea is that the COMBINED (read AT&T) company will provide 12.5 million more locations of fiber service.

"Locations" is probably left vague as a tactical compromise from AT&T. They are rolling fiber to your house in major metropolitan areas (it's been going on for years now). I don't think it's surprising at all that they agreed to this condition, because they were ALREADY doing it. Anytime you roll out an upgrade, you end up encompassing new build sites along the way, which easily makes 12.5 million feasible with little to no extra work. The FCC does not appear to have actually won any battles, except maybe to force an "affordable" broadband only option, which again, vague terms could render pointless as well.
 

medbob

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Dec 31, 2007
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It ain't built yet. The Telcom industry has a habit of promising Broadband, and then just plain not delivering.
 

medbob

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Dec 31, 2007
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" I'm glad to see that our government is actually doing something to try and improve the situation."

Let them go back and demand that Verizon do the Fiber Deployments that they promised in previous deals. Do that to all the other telcoms that have promised Fiber, and the whole country would be wired.
This is not "Government Doing Something". It is just them flapping their gums and justifying another one-sided deal.

Want to prove me wrong? Tell us, what is the penalty specified in the agreement if AT&T does not fulfill by date certain?
 

While I don't deny that does goes on, that's not what happened here. Have you ever wondered why your power and phone lines don't look like this?
http://www.phantompilots.com/attachments/india-jpg.12495/

It's because the government prohibits placement of cables and pipes except along certain pieces of land called easements. The government controls who gets to build in those easements specifically to prevent the spaghetti wiring you see in the picture. Unfortunately, some in the government quickly realized that they effectively had a monopoly over rights to build in easements. And rather than disseminating access to those easements in a responsible manner for the public good, they quickly leveraged the monopoly to extract money or demands from companies wishing to provide service along those easements. So in this particular case, it is completely the government's fault. Some made coverage demands in exchange for monopoly access, others simply demanded money. Very few were insightful enough to approve 2 or more cable companies to ensure there was competition.

It's funny how those on the left have absolute faith in the government and despise corporations, and those on the right have absolute faith in corporations and despise government. If you think about it, they are the same thing - organizations run by people. And as long as people are corruptible, both corporations and government are corruptible. So take off your pro-government or pro-corporate filters and look at each situation individually to identify the cause of the problem. (More to the point, there are good people in government, and there are good people running corporations. Painting them all as bad just makes it harder to root out the bad people.)
 
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