FCC Wants More From AT&T, Comcast

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Federal regulators are demanding more information on a range of business topics from AT&T Broadband and Comcast Corp., the two cable companies that want to obtain merger approval to create the largest cable company ever.

The Federal Communications Commission sent the two firms a letter June 11, 2002 asking dozen of questions on such issues as programming contracts, Internet access, local phone service and service charges. The companies must reply by July 2.

The FCC letter asked several questions about Headend In the Sky (HITS), the digital programming platform owned by AT&T, and its availability to competing and non-competing video programming distributors.

The FCC also asked for an index of all terrestrially delivered programming that would be covered by program-access rules if delivered via satellite, and a list of all exclusive programming contracts, including their length and geographic area.

The seven-page FCC letter also asked for additional support for their statement that the merger "will have strong incentives to reduce prices."

The FCC asked, "Did AT&T lower rates and hold down rate increases for any services after its merger with MediaOne?"

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