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AT&T Pitches Trio of DirecTV Deal Benefits

Even as news on the Comcast/Time Warner Cable front was not good for fans of that deal, AT&T was talking up the public interest benefits of the other big merger in front of the FCC and Justice Department—its proposal to buy satellite operator DirecTV.

According to ex parte filings in the wake of a meeting between the FCC and AT&T last week, the company submitted information on the public interest benefits of its proposed merger with DirecTV. Specifically on how consumers prefer integrated bundles of broadband and video, why the deal would benefit over-the-top providers, and reiterating its broadband deployment commitments if the deal is approved.

AT&T said its studies showed that consumers would prefer the integrated bundle of service versus the current "synthetic bundle." Rather than DirecTV and AT&T broadband being sold together in that "synthetic" bundle, AT&T says combining the companies will allow for "the convenience and simplicity that comes from having a single installation appointment to make, a single bill to pay, and a single company to call for service issues."

"This transaction will not only create a stronger competitor to cable, but also a competitor that, like AT&T today, considers providing seamless and high quality access to the full range of OVD services to be a strategic imperative," AT&T said.

AT&T distanced itself from the Comcast/TWC combo, telling the FCC that unlike "a combination of two companies that offer broadband," it would not get any additional broadband subs from DirecTV. "As a result, this transaction results in no change to AT&T’s broadband footprint," AT&T pointed out.

And with broadband speed another focus under FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, AT&T reminded the commission of its promise to extend fiber and speeds of up to 1 Gbps to millions more customers.

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.