The AT&T-Time Warner Merger Must Be Stopped
by Susan Crawford
Posted December 8, 2016
This deal invites unfair competition and locks in our horrible access problems. First, it’s not aimed at strengthening AT&T’s ability to compete in its current business — because the company faces no real competition. It’s quite happy in its current situation. Second, by entering into the business of originating as well as distributing content, AT&T’s incentive to favor that content over internet sources is hugely increased. The deal doesn’t make sense unless AT&T messes with video coming across its wires and wireless connections that might compete with the pay TV offerings (HBO and other TWX channels) and other high-capacity services that AT&T wants to sell.
As we’ve learned in the years following approval of the Comcast/NBCUniversal deal, no words aimed at limiting a huge carrier’s ability to mess with packets are effective or enforceable when that carrier has a built-in conflict of interest to favor its own content. More…