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Lucent Pushes for BellSouth Merger

AT&T continues to line up some friends in high-tech places.

On Friday, Alcatel-Lucent weighed in on the AT&T/Bell South merger by urging the FCC not only to approve the merger, but to do so this month and without any new network neutrality conditions.

High-tech companies have expressed concerns about the effect of "further delay" on slowing telecom investment and the effect on the manufacturing industry.

Alcatel-Lucent CEO Pat Russo made that pitch in a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and the other commissioners.

The FCC has an open meeting on December 20th and FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell, who is free to become the tie-breaking vote if he chooses to cast it, did not attend a media ownership hearing while likely boning up on the merger and the concerns expressed by some Democrats about the propriety of his voting.

He is not allowed for a year from his arrival to vote in a proceeding to which his former employers, COMPTEL, is a party unless the FCC general counsel concludes it would be in the government's interest, which he has done.