Kevin Martin To AT&T: Okay, Now Feel Free To Ignore Those Concessions You Just Promised

from the say-what? dept

There was a lot of controversy on Friday after the late Thursday agreement by AT&T to offer some concessions in order to get its merger with BellSouth approved. There was a fair amount of disagreement over whether or not those concessions actually let through a big loophole that would let AT&T effectively ignore the spirit of the concessions, though many people felt that the concessions really were significant. The argument on that side is that, at least AT&T agreed to some basic definition of net neutrality, and if they dared to actually break it (either in spirit or letter of the concessions), there would be an immediate uproar to the FCC. Of course, that only matters if the FCC cares -- and it appears that they don't.

As Kevin Werbach notes, a statement issued by FCC chair Kevin Martin (who apparently was already on vacation, but still voted on the deal by email) basically said that AT&T's concession promises are meaningless, and even though they helped convince Commissioners Copps & Adelstein to change their vote to favor the deal, Martin has no intention of holding AT&T to their word. In fact, he makes it very clear that if AT&T wants to violate the net neutrality they just promised, they're absolutely free to do so: "to the extent that AT&T has, as a business matter, determined to take certain actions, they are allowed to do so." It is true that the concession letters are hardly binding and plenty of things could change over the next few years (or even months). However, it does seem fairly ridiculous that Copps & Adelstein changed their vote on such short notice, especially if the concessions are meaningless fluff that the FCC doesn't actually care about. If that's the case, why did the two commissioners change their votes?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Bumbling old fool, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 6:17am

    Why be suprised?

    Hasn't that been how all Telco-Gov deals have gone down in the past?

    (Think about that...)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Corruption at its finest..., Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 6:32am

    I guess it just took that long to find they're price.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 6:50am

    Money can't buy everything...yet.

    It really bothers me that companies can now make empty promises and toss around some cash and they can suddenly get away with anything.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Cheeky Monkey, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 7:16am

    Re: Money can't buy everything...yet.

    Money can buy almost everything, and it's not a new thing. In fact, one of the things money has bought is our notion that corruption is new. Corruption is extremely old, there never were any good old days, in fact, I'd say that well in some sense ultimately more effective at chilling dissent, undermining net neutrality is substantially less brutal then machine gunning unionizing mine workers...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Bum, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 7:24am

    I'm going to blog this!

    Hopefully I will get a laptop from microsoft.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    The infamous Joe, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 7:36am

    Re:

    I thought MS asked for all the laptops back because that kid made a big deal about it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Brian Page, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 8:19am

    The Ivory Tower Will Fall AT& T

    Do you recall the AT&T Broadband meltdown? If you missed it the first time, you will have a chance to see it again. Watch where you invest your money, the hype will cost you in the long run with these guys.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Laudanum Milkshake, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 8:57am

    It amazes me that some people still seem to think that "principles" matter to politicians and bureaucrats. At least the corporates openly admit all they want to do is make money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    The infamous Joe, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 9:12am

    My Milkshake brings...

    It amazes me that some people still seem to think that all politicians and bureaucrats are corrupt. They're just people, like your mother, or the weatherman. You don't assume all weathermen are corrupt, do you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 9:35am

    Why did they change their vote? Because the checks from ATT cleared their offshore bank accounts...

    Duh!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Back to the Future, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 9:54am

    Hello 1980 and AT&T's monopoly. Wonder how long it will take for an anti-trust suit to be brought against AT&T again? Five years? Ten years? Fifteen years?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Bill Pinsky, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 10:04am

    I am not surprised

    Never believe the initial hype. Its all smoke and mirrors intended to delude the average Joe.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 10:35am

    Re: Re: Money can't buy everything...yet.

    Yes you are correct in noting that corruption is a very old concept. I just wanted to chime in

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Frink, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 2:53pm

    here we go

    So they have their new monopoly now. The concessions they made are not legally binding as near as I can see. AT&T will do whatever they need to do to maximize quarterly profits and offer nothing to the consumers (victims) as far as better service at affordable prices. Competition will not be an issue in many areas, innovation will stagnate and there will be no coverage to unprofitable areas. Some areas will never see broadband. There will be no place for the consumer to look for help now that the government agencies have been paid.

    Welcome to the brave new world of communications.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    battery, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 4:25am

    Re: here we go

    It amazes me that some people still seem to think that "principles" matter to politicians and bureaucrats. At least the corporates openly admit all they laptop AC adapter want to do is make money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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