Senators pledge to monitor AT&T, DirecTV deal

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have pledged to monitor the recently announced $48.5 billion merger of AT&T and DirecTV.

Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said in a statement that his committee "will be looking closely at this transaction."

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"I will closely monitor the [Federal Communications Commission's] and the antitrust authorities’ response to this announcement," Leahy said in a statement Monday.

Executive from AT&T and DirecTV are touting the deal as appealing the regulators as it includes commitments to expand Internet access in rural areas and abide by the Obama administration's net neutrality rules, even though they were struck down by a federal court earlier this year.

In addition to reviewing the deal to combine AT&T and DirecTV, Leahy's committee recently held a hearing to review the $45 billion merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, which was announced in February.

Leahy said he is "concerned that the telecommunications marketplace is trending even further toward one that favors big companies over consumers."

He noted DirecTV's role as "a nationwide competitor with cable."

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said in a statement that he is "skeptical that this deal is in consumers’ best interest."

The telecommunications industry should not undergo transformations that result in fewer competitors, he said.

"This hurts innovation, and it's bad for consumers, who have been getting squeezed by higher bills."

Franken pledged to "press regulators to scrutinize this deal — just as I did with Comcast–NBC and AT&T–T-Mobile and Comcast–Time Warner Cable — and I want to see hearings in Congress as well."