AT&T: Deregulation Only Applies To Us

from the hypocrites dept

AT&T has spent a lot of money in the last few years lobbying against government regulation. They pushed hard to dismantle the Clinton-era DSL unbundling rules. They've lobbied against having to negotiate thousands of franchise agreements with municipalities around the country before they could offer TV service. And, of course, they've lobbied hard against network neutrality regulations. In all cases, their argument was the same: market forces can protect consumers better than FCC meddling. And I've often been sympathetic to those arguments in cases where they've faced real competition. However, James Gattuso points out that for all their bluster about free markets, AT&T only favors deregulation for themselves. In a recent letter to the FCC, AT&T threw its weight behind FCC chairman Kevin Martin's proposal to impose new regulations on the cable industry under an obscure provision of the 1984 Cable Communications Policy Act. It's awfully hard to take AT&T's position here seriously. If, as they've been arguing for the last three years, the cable market is competitive enough that the franchise system should be liberalized, then it's certainly competitive enough not to need new regulations. Conversely, if new regulations of the cable industry are needed, why should AT&T be excused from complying with the rules the same rules as the cable industry? As James points out, these kinds of flip-flops completely undermine AT&T's credibility, and are likely to hurt them in the long run. If they leap at every opportunity to impose new regulations on their competitors, who's going to take them seriously when they advocate deregulation for themselves?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    identicon
    Jon, Nov 21st, 2007 @ 7:35pm

    cynical answer

    If they leap at every opportunity to impose new regulations on their competitors, who's going to take them seriously when they advocate deregulation for themselves? The politicians they've bought.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2007 @ 12:21am

    They're doing what all businesses have been taught to do, make it harder for their competitors and easier for themselves.

    Why would you think that those who are in positions to actually regulate them really care what they said, or didn't say, before? Sheesh, it's like you expect the people who are supposed to regulate these companies actually apply common sense. Where have you been?

     

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      Anonymous Delivers (crap), Nov 23rd, 2007 @ 7:28am

      Re:

      Well if "whatever it takes" is the rule, why don't the CEO's just assassinate each other? Seriously! Either you draw lines on what is and isn't acceptable competitiveness or you don't.

       

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    mb, Nov 23rd, 2007 @ 12:39am

    Common sense? That applies to regulations? That went out back when dirt was still new.

     

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    Wang, Nov 23rd, 2007 @ 7:03am

    To Quote AT&T

    All your deregulation are belong to us!

     

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      "V", Nov 26th, 2007 @ 12:58pm

      Re: To Quote AT&T

      tone perfect response!

      companies are taught to have no principles, only interests. regulators, on the other hands, are supposed to create a just and vibrant system for the PEOPLE they are supposed to represent. not the FICTITIOUS PERSONS who camp in their offices.

       

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    Jake (profile), Nov 23rd, 2007 @ 1:49pm

    How does it hurt them? Their cash is just as green as ever. As long as they keep paying off our congressman, they'll get the laws they like.

     

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    ATTer, Nov 24th, 2007 @ 10:47am

    ATT has been regulated since 1984. It's time to cut them some slack!

     

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    Vic, Nov 24th, 2007 @ 1:54pm

    The only deifference

    between your logic and that of AT&T's is called "vested interest". They have it, you don't.

     

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    michael, Nov 26th, 2007 @ 6:07pm

    Verizon hikes prices for new subs to FiOS TV servi

    AT&T and Verizon have bought politicians around the country and sold the tired free-market line that the free market will lower cable prices if they are allowed to compete (with deregulatory favors which 18 states have agreed to). According to my math, Verizon jacked their FIOS cable TV rates 7.5% last year and they now project another 11.5 rate increase this year. Apparently "Competition = Higher Prices". Hopefully the FCC and those folks in Congress will take note . . .

    see: http://saveaccess.org/node/1877

    from: CED Magazine

    Verizon hikes prices for new subs to FiOS TV service

     

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    Tim King, Nov 27th, 2007 @ 6:06am

    at&t flip-flop mantra

    at&t's credibility should never be questioned ... for it has never existed. at&t is playing us all ... the FCC, the consumer and we will all be losers. If at&t gets their way, which is a given that they will, for as long as the FCC and yes, all of us consumers, keep buying their line and their services. I stopped buying anything at&t three years ago and if more of us would take this path they might just become a good corporate citizen and a viable service provider and company.

     

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