Markey: FCC Should Review AT&T-Time Warner Deal

Senator says agency vetting necessary to prevent would-be pay TV gatekeepers
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Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said the FCC should get to review the proposed AT&T-Time Warner merger.

"[T]he FCC is our telecommunications cop on the beat, and we need it to ensure that marketplace actions don’t harm consumers, stifle innovation or reduce competition," Markey said.

There has been talk that the companies might be able to avoid an FCC review by spinning off a TV station and some satellite licenses; that would mean the Department of Justice would review the deal for antitrust issues, though likely with FCC input anyway.

But Markey said the deal "demands" a review by both parties.

“A review by the FCC would help prevent pay TV gatekeepers from favoring their own content providers and blocking minority, diverse and independent programmers from reaching America's living rooms," he said, echoing FCC chairman Tom Wheeler's arguments for various regulatory efforts. "A review by the FCC would help ensure that Americans can continue to enjoy watching all the content that should be available to them, and that their right to privacy is maintained even when technologies change.”

Markey did not say he opposed, or supported, the deal. But he said an FCC review would give the agency a chance to either "apply pro-consumer, pro-competition conditions if the acquisition is not in the public interest or halt it altogether.

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