The recently announced $48.5 billion deal to combine AT&T and DirecTV "deserves careful examination," according to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay RockefellerJohn (Jay) Davison RockefellerHumorless politics a sad sign of our times Bottom Line World Health Day: It's time to fight preventable disease 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."
The announced merger of AT&T and DirecTV — a deal that would combine one of the country's largest Internet providers with one of the country's largest satellite TV companies — comes after Comcast announced earlier this year a $45 billion deal to buy Time Warner Cable — a deal that would combine two of the country's top cable and Internet companies.
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.