Telecom attorney Jonathan Lee takes down the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division's specious case against the AT&T/Time Warner merger in this detailed blog post, excerpted below. (Click on the link at the bottom for the whole argument.) Here's the money quote: "This alleged harm is simply too general to merit analysis."
Assumptions On Assumptions: The DoJ's Fatally Weak AT&T/TWX Complaint, by Jonathan Lee at TelecoComSense.com:
The DoJ notes three kinds of video distributors: 1) traditional multi-channel video programming distributors ("MVPDs"), like cable, legacy phone, and satellite providers; 2) virtual MVPDs ("VMVPDs"), which are similar to MVPDs, but offered over the internet, and available nationally; and 3) subscription video on demand services ("SVODs"), like Amazon Prime and Netflix, who offer video on demand programming nationally, but do not offer live programming like news and sports. Complaint, paras 15-19.
Based on these definitions, the Government asserts that two relevant product markets exist: 1) the "All Video Distribution" market, which comprises all types of video distributors (MVPD, virtual MVPD, and SVOD), and 2) the "Multichannel Video Distribution" market, which includes MVPDs and virtual MVPDs (hereinafter, "MVPDs"). The relevant geographic markets, the DoJ argues, are local Designated Market Areas, which are defined by choices of supplier available to consumers (the wireline service providers of Multichannel Video Distribution vary according to their individual network coverage areas). Complaint, paras 27-30.
The DoJ contends that the merger will harm competition/raise prices in both the All Video Distribution and Multichannel Video Distribution markets throughout the country because it would give the post-merger firm the ability to unilaterally raise the price of wholesale programming (from Turner Broadcasting & HBO) to rival MVPDs. The enhanced ability to raise prices to rivals is the DoJ's primary argument.
But, almost like the perfunctory "and stuff" ending that teenagers tack on to woefully incomplete answers, the DoJ also claims that the merger will "give the merged company the ability to impede and slow innovation by hindering emerging online competitors and would increase the likelihood of oligopolistic coordination." Complaint, paras. 31-41, generally; quote from Subsection V.B. I quote the Complaint directly so that readers can see that this alleged harm is simply too general to merit analysis. The Government's main point, though, is not a huge improvement.
- Big Tech’s Response to Coronavirus: Face Masks, Hiring Binges, Free Web Sites and Cash Donations
- Democrats Call for New Infrastructure Stimulus Legislation Includes Large Broadband Provision
- The FCC Could Do More Now About the Digital Divide, Say Panelists at Broadband Breakfast Live Online Event
- Coronavirus Roundup: Senators Urge Distance Learning, Zoom Privacy, NTIA Broadband and RUS Grants
- Federal Communications Commission Proposal for Unlicensed Spectrum in 6 GHz Band Widely-Praised
Signup for Broadband Breakfast
Health4 weeks ago
Battling Coronavirus COVID-19, Broadband Could Provide Relief Although Telemedicine May Not Help
Health3 weeks ago
Broadband Breakfast Live Online Will Stream Daily in March on ‘Broadband and the Coronavirus’
Net Neutrality1 month ago
FCC Seeks Comment on Net Neutrality Issues Remanded by Appeals Court: Public Safety, Pole Attachments and Lifeline
Section 2301 month ago
Attorney General Bill Barr Calls for ‘Recalibrated’ Section 230 as Justice Department Hosts Tech Immunity Workshop
Artificial Intelligence1 month ago
U.S. Progress on AI and Quantum Computing Will Best China, Says CTO Michael Kratsios
Antitrust1 week ago
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation Brings Global Antitrust Experts Together in Videoconference
Broadband Mapping2 weeks ago
Commerce Department’s NTIA Details Its New-Found Progress in Broadband Mapping Technology
Broadband Mapping & Data1 month ago
Poor Broadband Maps and Lack of a Consolidated Voice Hinder Advocacy for Better Rural Internet