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FCC's Wheeler Won't 'Hip Shoot' on AT&T-Time Warner Merger Role

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler isn't talking about the potential for the FCC to be reviewing the proposed AT&T/Time Warner merger.

He was asked to weigh in after the FCC's public meeting Thursday. Commissioners historically don't talk about merger reviews before the agency, but the merger application has yet to be filed.

Wheeler was not talking about it anyway, pointing out there was no deal before him, though there might be, and almost certainly he won't comment on it then either.

"Nothing has been presented to us right now and if something is presented, we will make a decision based on the public interest," he said.

He brushed off as hypotheticals general questions about his view on vertical integration, the efficacy of behavioral versus structural conditions, or what an FCC "advisory" role might be in the deal. Wheeler never answers questions he defines as hypothetical.

However, in terms of whether he thought vertical integration was healthy for competition, he said: "I don't think there is any doubt about my stand on 'competition, competition, competition.'"

Asked if the FCC's hands were tied if the AT&T/Time Warner merger did not include any license transfers, Wheeler said: "We ought to see how things develop. I'm not going to stand here and hip shoot one way or another."