The Washington Post

FCC Commissioner Copps not keen on AT&T, T-Mobile merger

Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps (D) said that it would be a “steeper climb” for him to approve the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile than the merger between Comcast and NBC Universal.

Copps was the only commissioner to vote against that merger in January.

In an interview for C-SPAN's "The Communicators" series, Copps said the merger would result in “a lot of power and a lot influence given to one company in a world where two companies control about 80 percent of the spectrum.”

He hopes his colleagues will ask themselves about “what residue of competition will be left if this merger is approved.” The commission must look at the impact the merger would have on American jobs, he said, adding that he has not heard a satisfactory answer to that question. He said that the commission will have to look at the level of concentration and market power of the proposed merger to evaluate whether it is in the public’s best interest.

The commissioner also said he is troubled that the merger is a distraction from other work the commission must do. “I think whether this goes forward or not, it has an impact on spectrum auctions. It has an impact on public safety. And the list just goes on and on.”

When asked about what conditions he might want to impose upon the merger, Copps said he’s not a fan of conditions but that divestitures might be called for, and open Internet and net neutrality issues are also important to consider.

The interview will air on C-SPAN this Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

Related stories:

Federal regulators approve Comcast's acquisition of NBC Universal, with asterisks

N.Y. attorney general to investigate AT&T, T-Mobile merger

AT&T agrees to buy T-Mobile USA

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.


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