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The AT&T-Time Warner Merger Must Be Stopped
by Susan Crawford
Posted December 8, 2016

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson at a 2014 hearingThis 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…