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AT&T, DirecTV Assure FCC They Will Promote OVD

AT&T has clearly gotten the message that access to over-the-top video competition is a key issue for the FCC in its review of the proposed merger with DirecTV.

In a meeting with FCC officials about the deal, most of a dozen executives from both companies told the commission that they had "strong incentives" to support online video services, both as stand-alone and bundled

They also shared some confidential info on various peering, managed service and OVD distribution deals it has done, and said it is pursuing others that will "ensure consumers will be able to enjoy seamless and high-quality OVD services."

The FCC has yet to restart its unofficial shot clock on the deal, likely as the FCC review team tries to ensure that will be the case if the deal is approved.

Even as AT&T was making that case, Cogent was telling the commission that the company was contesting interconnection ports and there needed to be strong interconnection conditions on the deal. Netflix has also been arguing that AT&T had used its interconnection control to degrade access to Netflix, and threw in data caps and usage-based pricing as other ways to advantage its own services.

The FCC has yet to restart the transaction clock on the deal. AT&T chairman Randall Stephenson had asked FCC chairman Tom Wheeler to start the clock as soon as court issues with third-party contracts were resolved. That case was decided last month, but the clock remains stuck on day 170, with 180 the target, though that is a guideline, not a deadline.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.