The recently announced $48.5 billion deal to combine AT&T and DirecTV "deserves careful examination," according to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay RockefellerJay RockefellerObama to preserve torture report in presidential papers Lobbying world Overnight Tech: Senators place holds on FCC commissioner MORE (D-W.Va.).
In a statement on Monday, Rockefeller said the deal "is part of an accelerating trend of consolidation in the video marketplace."
In his statement, Rockefeller said he wanted to examine the merger's impact on rural America, where AT&T has pledged to expand its Internet access if the merger is approved.
"I welcome the commitments made by the two companies to enhance service to rural America, but those commitments must be real and quantifiable, and the companies have to live up to their promises," Rockefeller said.
Additionally, the two companies will have to "prove that the creation of yet another video and broadband conglomerate can be responsive to [consumer demands for lower prices and more options] and the broader public interest," he continued.
He also called on Congress to "look closely at how to foster more video competition, particularly through online video distribution platforms.”
Last year, Rockefeller introduced the Consumer Choice in Online Video Act, which would create protections for online video platforms like Netflix and prohibit anticompetitive behavior from cable, satellite and broadcast companies as well as Internet providers.