BellSouth Corp., the country's third-largest phone company, said Monday that
it would oppose the cable merger between AT&T Broadband and Comcast Corp. in
the current regulatory climate.
'BellSouth believes that so long as the disparity of regulatory treatment
between companies like AT&T-Comcast and BellSouth continues, it is not in
the public interest to approve the merger,' vice president of governmental
affairs Herschel Abbot said.
Phone companies like BellSouth that provide digital-subscriber-line service
claim that the Federal Communications Commission's rules are burdensome and do
not apply to cable.
'AT&T-Comcast provides unregulated cable modem high-speed Internet access
and local telephone companies like BellSouth provide highly regulated high-speed
access by way of DSL technology,' Abbot said.
Abbot suggested that if cable and phone companies were treated equally by FCC
regulations, the company would reconsider its merger opposition.
'It's possible that the hyper-competition in the high-speed Internet-access
business among the cable, telephone, satellite and fixed-wireless industries
could be enhanced by the merger. BellSouth's concern is that the competition be
fair. But you cannot make that decision until the two technologies are operating
under equal regulatory burdens,' he said.
The FCC is conducting several rulemakings on the regulatory treatment of
cable-modem service and DSL, but it's unclear whether the agency will adopt