AT&T Pitches Trio of DirecTV Deal Benefits

Telco Reiterates Public-Interest Case for Merger

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Even as news on the Comcast-Time Warner Cable front was not good for fans of that deal, AT&T was talking up the public-interest benefits of the other big merger in front of the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice: the telco's proposal to buy satellite operator DirecTV.

AT&T last week submitted information on the public-interest benefits of its proposed merger with DirecTV, according to ex parte filings in the wake of a meeting with the FCC. The information covered how consumers prefer integrated bundles of broadband and video, and why the deal would benefit over-the-top providers, reiterating its broadband deployment commitments if the deal is approved.

AT&T said its studies showed that consumers would prefer the integrated bundle of service versus the current "synthetic bundle." Rather than DirecTV and AT&T broadband being sold together in that "synthetic" bundle has been the case, AT&T says combining the companies will allow for "the convenience and simplicity that comes from having a single installation appointment to make, a single bill to pay, and a single company to call for service issues."

"This transaction will not only create a stronger competitor to cable, but also a competitor that, like AT&T today, considers providing seamless and high quality access to the full range of OVD services to be a strategic imperative," AT&T said.

AT&T distanced itself from the Comcast/TWC combo, telling the FCC that unlike "a combination of two companies that offer broadband," it would not get any additional broadband subs from DirecTV. "As a result, this transaction results in no change to AT&T’s broadband footprint," AT&T pointed out.

And with broadband speed another focus under FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, AT&T reminded the commission of its promise to extend fiber and speeds of up to 1 Gbps to millions more customers.