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May Broadband Breakfast Explores AT&T/T-Mobile Merger

WASHINGTON May 18, 2011 – Broadband Breakfast gathered former Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice officials along with leading industry experts to explore how the government will scrutinize the AT&T T-Mobile merger.

Will the FCC or the Justice Department Be Tougher on the AT&T/T-Mobile Merger? from Broadband Breakfast on Vimeo.

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WASHINGTON, May 18, 2011 – Broadband Breakfast gathered former Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice officials along with leading industry experts to explore how the government will scrutinize the AT&T T-Mobile merger.

“The Justice Department carriers a much lower burden of proof than the FCC does in approving the merger,” said Justin Hurwitz, visiting assistant professor of law at George Mason University. “The question that the Justice Department will ask is ‘will this make the market worse,’ not if it will make the market better.”

 

Will the FCC or the Justice Department Be Tougher on the AT&T/T-Mobile Merger? from Broadband Breakfast on Vimeo.

Hurwitz, a former Department of Justice antitrust attorney, predicted that the DOJ will take its time and carefully review the merger. The transaction review, he said, would likely take over a year before any decision was made.

Alan Pearce, a former Chief Economist at the FCC, predicted that the merger review would take a full year due to the large scale and scope.

“In contrast to the Justice Department, the FCC will look at how the market will change not only if the merger proceeds but if it is called off,” Pearce said. “The large kill fee which T-Mobile will receive if the merger fails may actually be the kiss of life they need to continue on for a few more years.”

Reuters has reported that if the government rejects the merger T-Mobile will receive cash and asset worth $6 billion: $3 billion in cash, $2 billion in spectrum, and a roaming agreement worth an estimated $1 billion.

Pearce also expressed fears over how the merger will affect handset availability to smaller carriers and the openness of their devices.

“AT&T likes to enter into long-term exclusivity deals – such as with the iPhone – and they have also been historically very opposed to opening up their devices,” he said.

Until this week, AT&T limited the types of applications users could install on Android, Google’s open mobile operating system.

Caressa Bennet, General Counsel, Rural Telecommunications Group (RTG), echoed Pearce’s fears about handset access saying that even with two major GSM wireless firms it is difficult for smaller GSM carriers to gain access to the newest handsets. She said the opposition to the deal by rural carriers would be “a fight to the death.”

“The merging of T-Mobile and AT&T will create a large nationwide GSM mobile provider which will add pressure to handset makers to enter into exclusive agreements with AT&T to produce handsets which will not operate on competing networks,” Bennet said. “AT&T already prevents many rural customers from roaming onto their network and this would only hurt rural customers.”
Bennet also dismissed the idea that AT&T would follow conditions that may be placed on the merger. According to Bennet very few firms have fully complied with rural build-out conditions in previous mergers and the government has taken little action to enforce compliance.

Ernesto Falcon, Director of Government Affairs, Public Knowledge said that the merger would create a duopoly with Sprint unable to effectively compete.

“Due to the high level of competition in the wireless market, the FCC did not expand its Open Internet rules to mobile broadband, however, after this merger the duopoly should be required to follow the rules,” Falcon said.

Debbie Goldman, Telecommunications Policy Director & Research Economist, Communications Workers of America, defended the merger saying that if AT&T did not offer buy T-Mobile someone else would have.

“T-Mobile is clearly unable to continue operating and would have been sold off to someone. By being purchased by AT&T the networks assets will not be wasted due to the interoperability between the technologies,” Goldman said. “By harnessing the power of the two networks, AT&T will be able to accelerate and enhance their next generation mobile broadband deployment.”

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Broadband Breakfast on August 31, 2022 – How to Maximize Minority Participation in the Affordable Connectivity Program

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Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place on Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. Watch the event on Broadband Breakfast, or REGISTER HERE to join the conversation.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022, 12 Noon ET – How to Maximize Minority Participation in the Affordable Connectivity Program

Panelists:

  • Craig Settles, Broadband and Telehealth Expert
  • Other guests have been invited
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Craig Settles conducts needs analyses with community stakeholders who want broadband networks to improve economic development, healthcare, education and local government.

Drew Clark is the Editor and Publisher of BroadbandBreakfast.com and a nationally-respected telecommunications attorney. Drew brings experts and practitioners together to advance the benefits provided by broadband. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, he served as head of a State Broadband Initiative, the Partnership for a Connected Illinois. He is also the President of the Rural Telecommunications Congress.

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook.

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

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Broadband Breakfast on August 24, 2022 – Summer of Broadband: Illinois

On August 24, Broadband Breakfast Editor and Publisher Drew Clark will return to the Land of Lincoln.

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Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place on Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. Watch the event on Broadband Breakfast, or REGISTER HERE to join the conversation.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022, 12 Noon ET – Summer of Broadband: Illinois

State broadband offices will play a critical role in the rollout of the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act’s Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program. In the months of July and August, Broadband Breakfast will take the pulse of broadband efforts at the state level in visits to about half-dozen states across the country. On August 24, Broadband Breakfast Editor and Publisher Drew Clark will return to the Land of Lincoln to talk with those now responsible for running the Illinois Office of Broadband in preparation for IIJA’s BEAD program.

Panelists:

  • Matt Schmit, Director, Illinois Office of Broadband
  • Other guests have been invited
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Matt Schmit currently serves as Director of the Illinois Office of Broadband, where integration of 21st century infrastructure and service delivery is a primary focus of his work and research. He previously held office as a senator in his home state of Minnesota, and has served on many legislative boards on broadband deployment, transportation policy & investment, and community & economic development. In addition, Mr. Schmit has served on the Cook County Council on Digital Equity (CODE), the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) board, the Blandin Broadband Strategies board, the St John’s University Board of Regents, and the Legislative Water Commission; represented Minnesota on the National Conference of State Legislators Nuclear Energy Work Group and Commerce Committee; and was an active member of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators and State Ag and Rural Leaders.

Drew Clark is the Editor and Publisher of BroadbandBreakfast.com and a nationally-respected telecommunications attorney. Drew brings experts and practitioners together to advance the benefits provided by broadband. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, he served as head of a State Broadband Initiative, the Partnership for a Connected Illinois. He is also the President of the Rural Telecommunications Congress.

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook.

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

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Broadband Breakfast on August 17, 2022 – Summer of Broadband: Tennessee

In Tennessee, we’ll see what the Volunteer state is doing to bring a plan together on broadband policy.

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Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place on Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. Watch the event on Broadband Breakfast, or REGISTER HERE to join the conversation.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022, 12 Noon ET – Summer of Broadband: Tennessee

State broadband offices will play a critical role in the rollout of the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act’s Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program. In the months of July and August, Broadband Breakfast will take the pulse of broadband efforts at the state level in visits to about half-dozen states across the country. On August 17, we will speak with those in the office of the State of Tennessee to learn what those in the Volunteer state are doing in bringing a plan together on broadband policy.

Panelists:

  • Taylre Beaty, Broadband Program Director, Tennessee Department of Community and Economic Affairs
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Panelist resources:

Taylre Beaty started as the State Broadband Director at Tennessee Economic and Community Development in September 2021. Prior to joining TNECD, she worked for USDA Rural Development, most recently as a Policy Advisor for Rural Utilities Service in Washington, D.C. During her time at USDA, she worked on then Secretary Sonny Perdue’s broadband priorities including the American Broadband Initiative, FCC Precision Ag Task Force, and critical broadband infrastructure projects during the COVID-19 pandemic. She earned a master’s in Agricultural Economics from Texas A&M University and a bachelor’s in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She is originally from East Tennessee.

Drew Clark is the Editor and Publisher of BroadbandBreakfast.com and a nationally-respected telecommunications attorney. Drew brings experts and practitioners together to advance the benefits provided by broadband. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, he served as head of a State Broadband Initiative, the Partnership for a Connected Illinois. He is also the President of the Rural Telecommunications Congress.

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook.

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

Continue Reading

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