AT&T-DirecTV deal set to close after approval from FCC

AT&T, DirecTV Say Deal Must Be Done


NEW YORK (AP) — AT&T's $48.5 billion purchase of DirecTV is set to close after winning approval from the Federal Communications Commission.

The Justice Department had already cleared the deal, which will create the largest provider of cable or satellite TV in the U.S., with 26.4 million cable and satellite TV subscribers.

That's more than Comcast as well as a bigger Charter, which is seeking government approval to buy Time Warner Cable.

Suppliers of TV are buying one another as video from Internet competitors like Netflix gets more popular and costs rise for channels.

Adding TV customers gives AT&T more power to negotiate with big media companies over prices for those channels.

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AT&T-DirecTV deal set to close after approval from FCC
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 24: Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T (2nd L) and Michael White, CEO of DirecTV (L) prepare to testify before the Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee June 24, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The subcommittee heard testimony on the proposed merger between AT&T and DirecTV. Also pictured is John Bergmayer (2nd R), senior staff attorney for Public Knowledge and Ross Lieberman, senior vice president of government affairs for the American Cable Association (R). (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 24: Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T (2nd L) and Michael White, CEO of DirecTV (L) testify before the Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee June 24, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The subcommittee heard testimony on the proposed merger between AT&T and DirecTV. Also pictured is John Bergmayer (2nd R), senior staff attorney for Public Knowledge and Ross Lieberman, senior vice president of government affairs for the American Cable Association (R). (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 24: Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T (R) and Michael White, CEO of DirecTV (L) prepare to testify before the Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee June 24, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The subcommittee heard testimony on the proposed merger between AT&T and DirecTV. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 24: Michael White, CEO of DirecTV (L) and Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T (C) testify before the Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee June 24, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The subcommittee heard testimony on the proposed merger between AT&T and DirecTV. Also pictured is John Bergmayer (R), senior staff attorney for Public Knowledge. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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The deal also combines a nationwide satellite TV service, the country's largest, with the No. 2 nationwide wireless network as time spent on mobile devices increases.

AT&T's purchase of DirecTV was approved even as Comcast's bid for Time Warner Cable, which would have made the country's biggest cable company even more massive, was blocked. The AT&T deal did not trigger the same fears from consumer advocates because the company wouldn't contain an entertainment division like Comcast's NBCUniversal and wouldn't gain Internet customers, considered the future of the industry, by buying DirecTV.

The FCC said that for the deal to happen, AT&T has to expand a fiber network that can handle fast Internet speeds to 12.5 million possible customers, offer "low-price" home Internet to low-income customers and not manage Web traffic in a way that could make online video competitors unattractive for subscribers that are allowed only a certain amount of data on the home Internet.


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