AT&T, DirecTV push back against restrictions on proposed merger

AT&T and DirecTV are pushing back against conditions other companies want to impose on their proposed merger.

“Opponents continue to propose a laundry list of additional conditions that are unrelated to this transaction, unnecessary to address any transaction-specific harm, or both,” the companies said in a filing posted by the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday.

The filing comes after Dish and backbone Internet service provider Cogent Communications asked that the post-merger company be required to offer stand-alone broadband service — Internet service that customers can buy without a voice line — at certain speeds and prices for seven years.

AT&T has already agreed to offer stand-alone broadband for three years. But the company says they should not be forced to do so for a longer period, because they will not be getting more broadband infrastructure when it buys DirecTV.

“In the absence of any increased consolidation of broadband ownership, there can be no justification to require AT&T to provide standalone broadband at below-market prices for an extended period, as some Opponents have urged,” the companies said in their filing.

The firms also resisted calls for restrictions on their interconnection agreements.

“It would be unprecedented and unjustified to force AT&T to provide free backbone services to other backbone carriers and edge providers,” it said in the filing.

The filing could serve as AT&T's closing argument for the telecom deal — as regulators are reportedly close to approving the transactions, possibly with conditions.

AT&T has already made some concessions to help make their case to the commission.

“Applicants encourage the Commission to accept these commitments, which are appropriately tailored to the facts of this acquisition,” the company said on Wednesday, “and approve the transaction promptly.”