By Sara Jerome - 03/23/11 11:19 PM EDT
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AT&T LOBBIES SILICON VALLEY: Add the Internet to the list of parties AT&T is lobbying as it ushers its merger through the halls of Washington. Industry sources said AT&T's Washington shop reached out to top Silicon Valley companies after the announcement to ease potential uncertainty about the wireless company's bid to acquire T-Mobile. Top Internet firms such as Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook all have skin in the transaction because they depend on carriers to deliver their content and applications to consumers. MORE: http://bit.ly/fGrYTK.
Merger: Job killer or creator? Consumer groups are concerned AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile could lead to thousands of layoffs as two become one in the largest wireless merger in history. But AT&T officials are adamant the merger will create jobs. That's a corollary of their pledge to invest $8 billion in infrastructure over the next seven years — a key tenet of their argument that the public will benefit from the merger. Who's right? MORE: http://bit.ly/eX3DuX.
Minority groups back deal. Some happen to get AT&T funding. Coincidence, or...?: My colleague Gautham Nagesh examines why the Alliance for Digital Equality, the Hispanic Federation and the National Black Chamber of Commerce were among the first supporters of this merger. These groups argue the deal will benefit minority communities. The groups' statements also mirror those issued by hundreds of minority advocacy groups and lawmakers in support for Comcast's acquisition of NBC Universal last year. That deal was approved by the government in January over vocal objections from competitors. MORE: http://bit.ly/dWx7TL.
MERGER GETS EARLY SUPPORT FROM TWO HOUSE DEMS: Democratic Reps. Loretta Sanchez (Calif.) and Joe Baca (Calif.) lauded the AT&T/T-Mobile deal in press releases.
Sanchez: "I applaud AT&T’s recent acquirement of T-Mobile. Not only will this merger stimulate the economy and help create and maintain jobs, but it will give more workers collective bargaining rights and, through the expansion of 4G LTE deployment, will provide nearly 300 million Americans with better access to high-speed cellular and Internet services. Increased access to broadband is a key stimulus for economic development, and I am proud to support this major commitment by AT&T to advance America’s leadership in the digital age."
Baca: "I am pleased to learn of the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile, and its potential to create more good paying-jobs here at home, expand wireless access, and increase broadband speed for businesses and consumers across the nation."
But that prompts questions from Energy and Commerce aides: House aides whose bosses have pledged a serious look at the merger looked askance at positive statements arriving so soon in the process. "When we say we want to closely look at the facts and examine the transaction, we're not just recycling old sayings and press releases," a GOP House aide said. A Democratic aide was critical of the early support: "That makes my stomach turn." The aide alleged unambiguously that the endorsements are linked to political considerations rather than a thorough assessment of the costs and benefits of the merger.
Will the merger hinder a top FCC priority? Analyst says 'yes': The merger might mean the FCC could not get that spectrum auction legislation they've been hoping for. President Obama wanted such a bill to pass, too. More: http://bit.ly/gAM4Fw.
MOBILIZE EVERYTHING? Diverse set of stakeholders will likely do just that: ICYMI, a wide set of groups are questioning the deal and will likely form a coalition aimed at stopping it. More here: http://bit.ly/g6g4Sc.