AT&T Agrees To Keep The Net Neutral For 30 Months To Get BellSouth

from the punting-until-later dept

With FCC chair Kevin Martin unable to push through an approval for the AT&T BellSouth merger due to an (no, seriously, don't laugh) ethical stance from a fellow commissioner, it looks like AT&T needed to go back to the bargaining table. With rumors swirling that a deal would be wrapped up by the end of the week, AT&T has apparently told the FCC that it will commit to adhere to network neutrality rules while guaranteeing low-cost DSL access for at least 30 months after the merger. In essence, this is a punt move to get approval for the deal. With no network neutrality legislation being passed by Congress this year, it has the potential to come up again next year, with Democrats slightly more likely to enforce net neutrality rules -- in which case this concession would be pretty much meaningless anyway. At the same time, AT&T probably recognizes that a lot can change in the next two and a half years, and if they're serious about breaking network neutrality, they wouldn't be likely to do so in any big way for at least a little while anyway. Right now, they're more focused on building out their network, and the whole idea of breaking network neutrality would probably be shelved for a year or two anyway. This should allow the deal to go through, but we're sure this won't be the end of the whole network neutrality debate (by a long shot). Update: The details are beginning to filter out. Among the surprises: the cheap DSL would be naked DSL (no phone service required) for $19.95. That certainly beats their old offering that made naked DSL just as expensive as if you bundled a useless phone line, around $45. There are also additional promises about creating new jobs in the US and getting rid of some overlapping wireless licenses. Update 2: We've got another post up that looks at some of the fine print suggesting maybe the concessions aren't very big concessions after all.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Rick, Dec 28th, 2006 @ 7:21pm

    Low Cost DSL?

    Do they mean the DSL they offer now for $15/mo if you buy their landline service for $30 a month? The actual total being $45 since a lot of people see landlines as a waste of money nowadays.

    Or do they mean the unbundled DSL that's only $43 a month? A whopping $2 savings!

    I don't see any low prices here, does anyone else?

    How can the FCC?

     

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  2.  
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    Thunderclap, Dec 28th, 2006 @ 7:54pm

    30 months? No, I insist on 300 months. That solve solve it for my lifetime.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Sanjay Parekh, Dec 28th, 2006 @ 8:58pm

    Run down of the concessions

    I did a run down of the concessions here:

    http://www.sanjayparekh.com/archives/2006/12/28/att-compromise-a-gain-for-consumers/

    In a nutshell, they are offering to provide naked DSL (not requiring phone service) for $19.95/month but capping it to 768kbps service. They also say they'll provide 768 kbps service to current customers who don't have broadband access for $10/month. Not bad for folks who haven't upgraded or are still on the other side of the digital divide.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    NOBODY, Dec 28th, 2006 @ 10:39pm

    monopoly

    doesn't the FCC understand monopolies? why are these deals being approved? doesn't anyone remember the breaking of the bells?

    oh, and great, they're going to commit to network neutrality, for 30 months. that's great. glad to hear in 30 months and 1 day we'll have one locked down internet that'll start raping us and bring the whole internet to a stand still (and of course, as an industral nation) stop internet innovation.

    GREED. How bout our governement stop doing stupid things and start making things like net nutrality, monoplies between phone companies, and price fixers pay big time.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Al, Dec 29th, 2006 @ 3:02am

    Stop Whinning and vote

    Vote with your ballot for ethical intelligent people not your same old congress person and vote with your wallet freedom is never won by governments it is always won and held by people. If enough people call up and switch away from AT&T then they will be forced to make it right or go bankrupt trying to play the same old monopolistic game.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    ScytheNoire, Dec 29th, 2006 @ 3:47am

    hmmm, i like the Fight Club method, just blow their buildings the hell up. yup. sounds like a plan to me. :P

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    citizenj, Dec 29th, 2006 @ 7:04am

    Fight Club, eh?

    ScytheNoire-

    Your views intrigue me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Bumbling old fool, Dec 29th, 2006 @ 8:21am

    Re: Fight Club, eh?

    The first rule of ScytheNoire is we do not talk to ScytheNoire.

    The second rule of ScytheNoire is we do not talk to ScytheNoire.

    But you are certainly welcome to beat yourself stupid in the parking lot of a redneck bar. Many will be entertained. None will participate (in beating themselves).

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Jack, Jan 3rd, 2007 @ 4:32am

    AT&T thinks in terms of decades, not months

    AT&T taking a stand on an ethical stance is like AT&T serving 'jumbo shrimp', an oxymoron or a complete lie. Once AT&T has a foot in the door by merging with the RBOC's to provide 'better service' (HA) it will immediately start planning for the day after the 30 months are up. Network Neutrality will be discarded for an 'improvement in service' which will benefit AT&T and their minions only. "Low cost DSL access for 30 months" will become 'enhanced' DSL service at double the prevailing rate. Digital service will become the only service available and dial up will go the way of the dial telephone and the human operator-gone forever, replaced by a voice synthesized computer. And 'concessions'. The only concessions AT&T will make will be to allow the ratepayer to pay exorbitant rates for unnecessary services.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    wayne, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 11:27am

    To Hell with AT&T, VERIZON, COMCAST, BELL, etal
    Just stop dealing with these vermin and their shareholders which by the way if we look at the shareholders are a lot of us in the teachers federation, many unions someone who has the time to find out this info and just demand OUR shares be pulled from all these sick greedy so called ellite huh
    Togeather we'll beat this scorge once and for all!

     

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