AT&T Blackout Of HBO On Dish Highlights Perils Of Megamerger Mania

from the do-not-pass-go,-do-not-collect-$200 dept

You might recall that AT&T recently defeated the DOJ's challenge to their $86 billion merger with Time Warner thanks to a comically narrow reading of the markets by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon. At no point in his 172-page ruling (which approved the deal without a single condition) did Leon show the faintest understanding that AT&T intends to use vertical integration synergistically with the death of net neutrality to dominate smaller competitors and squeeze more money from consumers in an ocean of creative new ways.

Throughout the case the DOJ tried to demonstrate (poorly) that a bigger AT&T has every incentive to behave badly. Admittedly those efforts were pretty feeble since the multi-decade steady lobbyist erosion of antitrust law left them trying to make the case within very narrow confines of legally-acceptable economic theory. The DOJ also shot itself in the foot by refusing to even mention AT&T's attacks on net neutrality, likely because it didn't want to highlight the fact that another arm of the government (the FCC) was actively harming the same consumers the DOJ claimed it was trying to protect.

Regardless, with the merger still less than 5 months old, AT&T has been quick to show why people were concerned. The company has already quickly jacked up rates on most of its subscribers and imposed all manner of bizarre new fees as it tries to recoup the massive debt it incurred from both the DirecTV and Time Warner mergers. And this week, AT&T blacked out (previously Time Warner-owned) HBO content for Dish Network customers during contract negotiations, the first time that has happened in the history of HBO:

"AT&T Inc.’s HBO and Cinemax programs were pulled from Dish Network Corp.’s satellite service after the companies failed to reach a new distribution agreement, setting up a real-life “Game of Thrones” between two of the biggest players in pay TV. It is the first time in HBO’s more than four-decade history that programming has been blocked at a distribution partner over a contract dispute, according to AT&T, which acquired the premium cable network as part of its June $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner.

We've noted for years how retransmission and carriage fee disputes in the cable industry have grown increasingly common and are only getting worse. Basically, when it comes time to sign a new deal paying for content, broadcasters generally demand huge rate hikes for the same channels. Cable operators then play hardball, and during negotiations one side or the other (usually broadcasters) pulls their content from the cable lineup. Consumers never see refunds for these feuds, even though these feuds have occasionally left them without access to channels they've already paid for, for months.

For weeks, consumers are bombarded with PR missives, new websites and on-screen warnings all trying to amplify public outrage and drive greater pressure for one side or the other to buckle. After a while, the two sides strike a new confidential deal, and the higher rates are then quickly passed on to consumers. In a letter to lawmakers last year, Dish Network argued that consumers have faced 750 such broadcaster blackouts since 2010, with the retransmission consent fees that broadcasters demand growing a whopping 27,400% between 2005 and 2016.

Of course Time Warner and HBO management traditionally took the high road to avoid these kinds of problems, something that appears to have suddenly and abruptly changed. HBO execs are implying to media outlets that this could all just be a press stunt by Dish to apply pressure on AT&T as it fights the DOJ's recent appeal. Even if that's the case, consumer groups and out-leveraged smaller cable ops have been pushing for years for updated regulations that ban companies from blacking out content while companies bicker over rates.

These demands are never really taken seriously in DC, as it's seen as too heavy handed of an intervention into negotiations between two companies. Ignored is that during these outages, consumers don't see refunds for content they paid for, and this consumer outrage itself is actively encouraged by both sides in a bid to apply pressure on the other end of the deal. While the FCC under Wheeler flirted with the idea of basic FCC rules putting this ridiculous tap dance to bed, there was simply no follow through.

That AT&T was going to use its newfound power to jack up prices for its TV competitors wasn't rocket science, especially if you've watched AT&T's particular flavor of "doing business" anytime over the last two decades.

The irony here is that AT&T even promised the DOJ that it would avoid these kinds of blackouts as a merger condition if the DOJ approved the deal. But the DOJ sued anyway claiming it was helping consumers (though Trump's disdain for CNN and Trump ally Rupert Murdoch's lobbying against the deal are seen as more likely justifications for a consumer-protection phobic Trump administration). But the DOJ's sloppy handling of the case and a terrible ruling by Leon left AT&T more powerful than ever, and consumers and competitors left more vulnerable than ever.

And that's before you even get to AT&T's plans for the post net neutrality world, currently on hold pending the outcome of next February's looming court battle.

Here in the States we have this bizarre tendency to either mindlessly approve megamergers with zero conditions, or conditions that companies are allowed to just tap dance around. The resulting mega-company then behaves badly, and everybody just stands around with a stupid look on their face. Rinse, wash, repeat.


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  • identicon
    Annonymouse, 2 Nov 2018 @ 7:03am

    Not just the look

    Like the turtles the 4 elephants stand on, it's stupid all the way down.

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 7:18am

    It just...

    brings a tear to the eye.

    corruption all over the place and you bastards keep saying they should get more power. Sadly, eventually you are going to get your wish... and you will bitching when that goes wrong too!

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    • icon
      Gary (profile), 2 Nov 2018 @ 7:20am

      Re: It just...

      Because we (some of us) want the government to have more power to break up monopolies, that is giving "them" too much power? What a delightfully laughable statement!

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 7:47am

        Re: Re: It just...

        I actually do support giving the government more power to break up monopolies, the problem is that is one of the few powers I would like to give them.

        So don't be dishonest and act like you would not give them far more power than than.

        When it comes to regulations, the government should not be allowed to tell businesses what they have to do, they should only be able to tell businesses what they can't do. There is a pretty good reason for doing it that way as well.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 7:57am

          Re: Re: Re: It just...

          "government should not be allowed to tell businesses what they have to do"

          In this case, what is the government telling these two corporation that they have to do?

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 8:06am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: It just...

            You have the internet go and look it up, I am not your internet nanny.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 2 Nov 2018 @ 8:07am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: It just...

            "In this case, what is the government telling these two corporation that they have to do?"

            Help themselves to the free money, while countries with effective regulation laugh their asses off at the idiot you were responding to?

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 8:12am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It just...

              take a fucking hike you NPC. you never had anything to add to this conversation. your only game is... hey guys... do the same thing we do over here... with our "no 1st amendment rights or freedom of speech laws".

              No one cares you fruit bat.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 8:25am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It just...

                You add nothing to this conversation but insults and unbacked claims. Go find something productive to do.

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                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 8:30am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It just...

                  you only add hypocrisy. it's okay for them to insult but not me? I guess equality is not something you value.

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 2 Nov 2018 @ 8:26am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It just...

                "you never had anything to add to this conversation":

                Only one thing - that places where the things you oppose have actually been enacted have only improved things for the consumer. As long as you keep lying ab out that, I'll be here to remind everybody of that fact.

                "No one cares you fruit bat."

                Apparently you do enough to get angry about it. What's the matter, don't like being reminded you're demonstrably full of shit?

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                  Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 8:32am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It just...

                  "Only one thing - that places where the things you oppose have actually been enacted have only improved things for the consumer. As long as you keep lying ab out that, I'll be here to remind everybody of that fact."

                  So the fact that there are several nations in near failure proving your bullshit wrong does not faze you? What about the debt crisis in your neck of the woods? Anything to say about that?

                  Talk about being full of shit!

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                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 2 Nov 2018 @ 8:38am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It just...

                    "So the fact that there are several nations in near failure"

                    I'm talking specifically about consumer regulation - the thing currently under discussion and that you are claiming cannot be done effectively despite so much evidence to the contrary. Where has this failure happened?

                    "What about the debt crisis in your neck of the woods? Anything to say about that?"

                    Not on a thread that has fuck all to do with it, no. But, thanks for showing you have no interest in what's actually being discussed.

                    But, if you're going to state that you can't talk about problems unless your own nation is perfect in that regard - which subject can you talk about? The list is not exactly very long...

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                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 11:38am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It just...

                      "I'm talking specifically about consumer regulation - the thing currently under discussion and that you are claiming cannot be done effectively despite so much evidence to the contrary. Where has this failure happened?"

                      Why can't I ever have a conversation with you fucking knobs without having to resort to the fucking dictionary?

                      You keep using the word "effectively". It is a meaningless word in this context, you sound like a fucking politician. You must shill for someone.

                      Effective is not equal to the word effect. A regulations may have an effect, but it may or may not be effective depending on the effect YOU want or expect. And what you consider "effective" does not mean someone else considers it to be the same.

                      I would say if you just want to argue over "effective" then yea I can agree with you that regulations are very effective.... at fucking over consumers. Sometimes they hurt businesses too. But usually they hurt consumers more in a banal and wrote trade off between everyone. Businesses get to have monopolies, but government nanny "promises" that they will not let them abuse you ... "too much".

                      "Not on a thread that has fuck all to do with it, no."

                      So you claim that regulation has nothing to do with the economy? Okay champ!

                      "But, if you're going to state that you can't talk about problems unless your own nation is perfect in that regard "

                      I hardly expect a nation you are a member of to be perfect. That said... there is no need for anything to be perfect, in I would say that YOU are seeking perfection with all of this regulation. I know for a fact that perfection cannot be achieved and also trying to tell you that your pursuits of that perfection will serve as your pain and misery.

                      We can talk about any problem you like, but its probably better if you stick to YOUR country where you know more about how that operates than a different country where you know mostly jack and shit about it other than what the media tells you because they can't even pain a half assed shadow of anything properly.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 5:41pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It just...

                        Why can't I ever have a conversation with you fucking knobs without having to resort to the fucking dictionary?

                        You're the only jackass whose intelligence (or lack thereof) warranted such usage.

                        We can talk about any problem you like, but its probably better if you stick to YOUR country

                        Oh, fuck off. You spent months screaming at everyone who agreed with net neutrality policies. Including me, and other non-American readers of this site, going on at length about even if you're a foreign citizen with no monetary or political clout on American policymaking, you're still at fault for what happens in another country because you didn't boycott America enough.

                        Go toss yourself off a cliff.

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                      • icon
                        techflaws (profile), 2 Nov 2018 @ 11:55pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It just...

                        "Why can't I ever have a conversation with you fucking knobs without having to resort to the fucking dictionary?"

                        Because you're obviously too fucking dumb to express your genius thoughts properly. Tough shit, fruitcake.

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                      • icon
                        PaulT (profile), 5 Nov 2018 @ 1:32am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It just...

                        "Why can't I ever have a conversation with you fucking knobs without having to resort to the fucking dictionary?"

                        Why can't you act like an adult when discussing the issues other people are referring to?

                        "You keep using the word "effectively". It is a meaningless word in this context"

                        No, it's vital to the discussion. Your corrupt system has regulation, but it's not effective. The answer to that is not to remove regulation altogether, as all that does is hand everything over to the bad actors to continue what they're doing unopposed. The fix is to make the regulations effective.

                        "So you claim that regulation has nothing to do with the economy? Okay champ!"

                        Oh, you're talking about the economy, now? You seem to be addressing different things depending on what you want to rant about at any given moment. It's never the things that other people are talking about within the conversation, so it's easy to get confused.

                        But, the comment stands, where in your childish view of the world has regulation led to the problems you claim are inevitable, yet haven't materialised in most places where the things you're terrified of are already in place?

                        "I would say that YOU are seeking perfection with all of this regulation"

                        You might say that, but you do say of lot of shit that's objectively not true.

                        "We can talk about any problem you like, but its probably better if you stick to YOUR country "

                        I'm not an idiot or a sociopath, so I understand both that decisions made in the US can affect world economy and that these corporations are screwing over real people left and right. When people like you come in and lie your asses off about it being impossible to make things better with government regulation, yet I live my life daily with the benefits that you claim cannot exist, I feel the need to call you out for the lying asshole you are. Don't like that? Stop being a lying asshole...

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 8:22am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It just...

              I doubt these corps are being forced into anything, but it certainly is an opportunity for them to complain.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 7:33am

      Re: It just...

      corruption all over the place and you bastards keep saying they should get more power.

      And yet, more corporate power seems to be what you want. Talk about bastards, buddy, you take the cake.

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 7:52am

        Re: Re: It just...

        Not wanting to give the government more power is not synonymous with giving businesses more power, so your argument is invalid.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 2 Nov 2018 @ 8:18am

          Re: Re: Re: It just...

          It depends on the power you wish to grant.

          Here, you're specifically arguing against giving them the power to stop corporations from fleecing a captive market, so you are in fact arguing to give businesses more power.

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 8:26am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: It just...

            Not stopping something is not the same as helping it along. The government had an still has the power to stop a merger and even to break up the business post merger. The government simply choose not to use it's power.

            This is where you are all wet behind the ears. It's called regulatory capture, where the regulators are on the side of the businesses more than the consumers. And you are vulnerable to it as well. It just takes the right motivated business to pay off the right politicians and you too can enjoy this corruption.

            But don't worry chap... once American businesses are done over here... we will be over there to do the same if some other business has not manage to beat one of ours to it.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 2 Nov 2018 @ 8:30am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It just...

              "Not stopping something is not the same as helping it along"

              But, if you oppose the actions to stop it, that's basically the same thing in the long run. If the outcome is the same, who cars whether you actively helped or just merely sat at the sidelines mocking those who were trying to stop it?

              "This is where you are all wet behind the ears."

              Yeah, yeah, you know everything, those of us who live daily life with better service than you are just waiting for the day when you finally show us all and drag us down to your level. Yawn.

              "But don't worry chap... once American businesses are done over here... we will be over there to do the same "

              You have decades worth of pro-consumer regulation to make it much, much more difficult for you, though. But, thanks for admitting that you actually support this stuff.

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                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 11:46am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It just...

                "But, if you oppose the actions to stop it, that's basically the same thing in the long run."

                PaulT you just lack so much in the intelligence department it is sad.

                I oppose YOUR WAY of doing it. Why are you so stupid that you can't figure this one out? You can post on the internet... so you seem to be more functional than a common rat. Or maybe you are one of those Russian trolls people keep yapping about? Except you claim to be from the UK or some place nearby?

                "You have decades worth of pro-consumer regulation to make it much, much more difficult for you, though. But, thanks for admitting that you actually support this stuff."

                That is definitely your opinion. You might like these regulations... that is fine. But keep in mind... someone like me that is evil, will be using those regulations against you, its not hard to do it either. In fact most politicians jobs are to figure out how to get you to love them as they screw you. You might even eventually figure it out... but only after it is too late.

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                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 5 Nov 2018 @ 1:48am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It just...

                  "I oppose YOUR WAY of doing it."

                  You're stated you oppose all government regulation except for when they've already screwed the consumer by abusing monopoly powers. You somehow seem convinced that they will suddenly act altruistically when they aren't forced to be, which is a moronic position in the real world.

                  "But keep in mind... someone like me that is evil, will be using those regulations against you, its not hard to do it either."

                  You're not evil, you're just an idiot. But, I'll humour you - how exactly would you use the regulations against me. Pick one and explain how that would work.

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        • identicon
          Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 2 Nov 2018 @ 5:06pm

          Re: Not wanting to give the government more power

          It is the Government’s job to rein in the powerful, in the name of all of us. That’s why we have democracy, to ensure the Government remains answerable to us for its actions.

          At least, that’s how it is supposed to work in our country; isn’t it the same in yours?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 7:48am

      Re: It just...

      "corruption all over the place and you bastards keep saying they should get more power"

      The situation in Brazil supports your concern about replacing politicians with folk who promise to end corruption, but they actually turn it up to eleven.

      As to whether this same scenario will occur here is up for debate, however your premise that reducing governmental "power" is some sort of panacea ... well - that is simply wrong. If given free reign, the governmental programs most beneficial to the entire nation, will be reduced/eliminated while those governmental programs that stuff the wealthy pockets will prevail and grow larger. You know this to be true and yet I think you will deny it.

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 8:02am

        Re: Re: It just...

        "The situation in Brazil supports your concern about replacing politicians with folk who promise to end corruption, but they actually turn it up to eleven."

        Pretty much the same as Trump's claim to "drain the swamp" what he didn't say was to drain that swamp and replace it it with "his swamp". The only reason the dems are whining is because their swamp is at risk of drying up now, but they have a chance to put their swamp back in next election.

        "As to whether this same scenario will occur here is up for debate, however your premise that reducing governmental "power" is some sort of panacea ..."

        Yea, I do want to reduce power overall... but only certain ones. I do want to increase certain powers as well. So I want to "change" the forms their powers takes on rather than necessarily... reduce it. But since a lot of their power is mostly corruption base it would definitely results in a lot o less power if you do a line by line item count. But not necessarily reduce power by evaluating the total result of what could be accomplished. The power to destroy monopolies is not small but needs few regulations to achieve. The power to tell a business they have to publish their accounts books is small but requires a lot of regulations to achieve because of how creative that can get.

        "If given free reign, the governmental programs most beneficial to the entire nation, will be reduced/eliminated while those governmental programs that stuff the wealthy pockets will prevail and grow larger. You know this to be true and yet I think you will deny it."

        This is where you just lost me. That claim is so specious it is unreasonable to utter because you just said that North Korea is benefiting their entire nation. I would say they pretty much have free reign... Venezuela too.

        Sure government programs can benefit the entire nation... but there is a problem with that. The fact that you just legalized the theft of peoples property to give to others. What is that okay and moral just because you can claim that people voted for it? Why can't we all just vote to take all money in the nation and just flat out divide it equally among all adults after age of majority?

        I mean... why keep fucking around... get to it and stop playing this BS game that allows you be taken complete advantage of. Because you are making the claim that another human, because infallible just like they claim the pope to be just because you voted for them.

        If you don't trust your neighbor with your private information, then why are you okay with trusting your neighbor after they attach the word "government" to their mission statement?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 8:30am

          Re: Re: Re: It just...

          So close - and yet still not there.

          Ok, do not have government spend your money for you. Is business going to build/repair our failing infrastructure?

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 11:51am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: It just...

            No, I am much farther along that you.

            Two things... Infrastructure is NOT the same as taking from the rich to give to the poor. This is a different thing.

            Business will most definitely build/repair failing infrastructure when it becomes in their best interest to do so. No, government does not always help with that... Usually it is the risk of being sued that gets businesses to build to quality specifications, NOT government regulation. Shitty government regulations produced the problem "Flint" has. Or better yet... shitty deregulation caused that problem, but either way... still terrible regulations.

            Same goes for ATT. This entire problem is the fault of shitty regulations backed up by greedy politicians that are cheap to by and stupid citizens voting in and believe everything a lying politician tells them.

            There is a reason why Obama said you get the politicians you deserve.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 1:53pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It just...

              At first I thought you were a bit off base but now I am convinced that you are out in left field so far that you could probably order a hot dog and beer without yelling too much.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 5 Nov 2018 @ 1:57am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It just...

              "Business will most definitely build/repair failing infrastructure when it becomes in their best interest to do so. "

              ...which is usually against the best interests of everybody else.

              "Usually it is the risk of being sued that gets businesses to build to quality specifications, NOT government regulation"

              So, the fact that they're legally required to do that has nothing to do with it? Also, it's hilarious how you're in love with some aspects of government such as lawsuits, but that by definition you only support the ones that help people *after* they've been screwed over and not the ones that stop them from being screwed to begin with. You live a strange, warped world.

              "Shitty government regulations produced the problem "Flint" has. Or better yet... shitty deregulation caused that problem"

              So... you admit that the regulations were effective before they were removed? Hmmm...

              The better example might be the Cuyahoga River fire - where your glorious corporations gave so little attention to the people around them that they let the river get so polluted that it literally caught fire. Did you hear about rivers catching fire recently? If not, that'll be the regulators telling corporations to knock that shit off.

              "This entire problem is the fault of shitty regulations backed up by greedy politicians that are cheap to by and stupid citizens voting in and believe everything a lying politician tells them."

              Yes, and the fix is to kick out the corrupt politicians and educate the public as to how they're being lied to. It not the solution you demand - just handing everything over to the businesses that were buying the politicians.

              "There is a reason why Obama said you get the politicians you deserve."

              Yes, you did get rid of the competent people running the country in favour of a clown show. It's hard to say you deserved that since more people actually asked for the adults to remain in the room, but the system is gamed that way.

              But, again, the fix is to repair the system, not throw it away completely.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 2 Nov 2018 @ 8:11am

      Re: It just...

      You seem confused.The "they" with more power in this case is AT&T. In country with effective regulation, either the merger would have been blocked, or there would be workable recourse for affected consumers. Instead, you're demanding they stay out of the way.

      The weird thing is, this is exactly what people here said would happen if effective regulations were not able to be enforced - and you blocked their wishes. Now, you're laughing at them because the things they tried to stop happening has come to pass?

      Again, I'm glad I live in places that are regulated to avoid this crap and give me a superior service.

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 8:17am

        Re: Re: It just...

        "In country with effective regulation,"

        It's nice to add a qualifier like that. I would like some effective regulation as well. The problem is that we don't have it. And NO you BS solutions will not bring that either despite your rabid claims that they will. You do not have the same form of government we do. So go back to your little dirt hole and bend over like a good little civ.

        "Again, I'm glad I live in places that are regulated to avoid this crap and give me a superior service."

        Good for you, but you also have less freedom than I do as well. So yea... you can cheer from your shackles all you like. "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it." ~Jefferson

        So yea... color me not impressed.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 8:37am

          Re: Re: Re: It just...

          So, just because you dislike some aspects of a countries laws you will ignore all their laws as examples of how to solve problems. That attitude lies at the heart of many political problems, including passing bad laws just because the other side proposed a good law, making it unacceptable.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 8:38am

          Re: Re: Re: It just...

          I get the impression you have the capacity to engage in some thoughtful discussion. If only you could avoid the childish insults, low-brow aphorisms and unnecessary, misplaced blame assignment.

          In the meantime, have yet another flag.

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

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 11:54am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: It just...

            I get the impression you don't understand that you are a hypocrite. You must first ignore the fact that insults are present.

            Only children and fools feel insulted! Once a person matures, they can no longer be insulted.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 2 Nov 2018 @ 8:40am

          Re: Re: Re: It just...

          "I would like some effective regulation as well"

          Then why are you opposing it here?

          "And NO you BS solutions will not bring that either despite your rabid claims that they will."

          Why? It's worked elsewhere. What makes you country so uniquely corrupt and/or incompetent?

          "Good for you, but you also have less freedom than I do as well. "

          The gap isn't a large as your jingoistic bullshit would have you believe. In fact, as you can see here, you are actually supporting less liberty. As long as it's a corporation and not the government taking it, you cheer on oppression!

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

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 12:09pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: It just...

            "Then why are you opposing it here?"

            You misunderstand. You might like regulation that allows businesses to screw people by say... 30% while I want regulation that screws people 0%.

            You will consider a regulation effective or good, while I would consider it ineffective or bad. You are using the word effective like it has real meaning in this conversation... well it does not.

            "Why? It's worked elsewhere. What makes you country so uniquely corrupt and/or incompetent?"

            Claims are subjective. What works there is not equal to what works here. If one size fits all really worked, then the world would look very different. The regulations that control your businesses there are different than the ones here. I deal with a lot of compliance and every country is different. Some things are allow in some areas and not in others.

            "The gap isn't a large as your jingoistic bullshit would have you believe."

            I wonder if that little butt-hurt bitch bitching about insults are going to flag you too? I bet he talks out of his ass as much as you do.

            Now... you need to go and look up what jingoistic means because you obviously don't know jack fucking shit about which you speak.

            "In fact, as you can see here, you are actually supporting less liberty."

            Only a moron like you equates more laws restricting what people can do as more liberty.

            "As long as it's a corporation and not the government taking it, you cheer on oppression!"

            And as long as it is the government taking it and not corporation, you cheer on oppression!

            The difference is... I can fight corporate oppression much easier than government oppression. Businesses cannot send people with guns after me... government can. But I bet you are too stupid to understand the fundamental difference. I hope you are still around when I am proven right a couple of decades from now.

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

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 5 Nov 2018 @ 1:45am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It just...

              "You might like regulation that allows businesses to screw people by say... 30% while I want regulation that screws people 0%."

              ...then why do you oppose all regulation in your comments?

              "Some things are allow in some areas and not in others.:"

              Yes. For example, ISPs have been free to refuse local loop unbundling and other things that force them to compete, so there's a lot less competition in the US and this has resulted in a much worse deal for the average consumer.

              "Only a moron like you equates more laws restricting what people can do as more liberty."

              Only a moron like you things that changing the identity of the oppressor from a pubic servant to a profit-driven corporation equals liberty. The government is the reason you don't have children working in coal mines any more, the corporation would happily cart a few extra bodies out every day if it made their bottom line look good.

              "And as long as it is the government taking it and not corporation, you cheer on oppression!"

              No, you're lying again. I oppose both types. It's just that in this incident you're welcoming corporate oppression because you imagine another kind of oppressions that simply hasn't happened elsewhere.

              "The difference is... I can fight corporate oppression much easier than government oppression"

              No, you really can't. Certainly not when you have no real competition with who provides you with the ability to spout your ignorance here. If your choices are to pay the person screwing you or do without a vital utility, you're not going to be able to change the behaviour of the company fleecing you.

              "Businesses cannot send people with guns after me... government can."

              Neither of which has anything to do with the regulation of a communications medium, but you are proving that you don't have much of a handle on reality and are a pant shitting coward who probably shouldn't have access to guns

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 8:55am

      Re: It just...

      There is indeed corruption all over the place. In every facet of the government, regulatory bodies and the large corporations.

      So you say we shouldn't petition our government to regulate because they're corrupt, and that's fine, I will entertain that notion.

      What, then, are your thoughts for fixing the problem? Because if it's "Give the power to the large corporations" whom are equal parts (if not more so) corrupt than the government you're against having the power, then you are arguing for the exact same thing as you're opposing, just from the other side of the table.

      If your solution is "Let the free market decide", that's about as useless as saying "The problem will fix itself." It shows absolutely no signs of fixing itself or deciding on anything other than the accumulation of power and wealth into a few choice companies that then turn around and spend that power and wealth to accumulate more power and wealth. Mom and Pop won't come along to fix things because, what a great surprise, the ones with all the power and wealth aren't allowing it to happen. This is a problem that won't fix itself. This is something the free market cannot fix.

      If you think about it, these large, powerful corporations are like a secondary government. You're saying the corrupt government isn't allowed to have the power because they're corrupt, so the 2nd corrupt government should have the power because ____?

      There will never be a silver bullet that will fix all of the problems and make everything fair and competitive and balanced and honest. Changes and fixes need to be made piecemeal. Sometimes that means giving protections to corporations to prevent government abuse and sometimes that means giving regulatory power to the government to protect people against corporations. Giving all of the power to just one side (regardless of which side it is) will just be a stupid move and a disaster.

      Now, I'm sure you're already typing up a response to this, but I ask that you refrain from adhominem attacks and frame your response towards other people who might be reading through the chain as I will not be revisiting this to see what you have to reply. Or don't, it really doesn't matter to me.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 7:21am

    Direct TV

    AT&T's own Direct TV satellite service still has HBO and is accepting new subscribers!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 7:41am

    Question is ... will our law 'n order government do anything to enforce the law in this case?

    It appears on the surface to be a possible antitrust violation and the market does not seem to be self correcting as some claim it to be.

    Sad to see two of the remaining broadcast pay tv corporations fighting over what few scraps of consumer dollars remain and they do not realize their petty fighting is driving away more customers thus making their problem even worse.

    I'm sure they will tell their stockholders that their lackadaisical performance is due to piracy and unfair competition ... if both of them make this same claim, it will be hilarious!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2018 @ 8:11am

    Insanity

    "Here in the States we have this bizarre tendency to either mindlessly approve megamergers with zero conditions, or conditions that companies are allowed to just tap dance around. The resulting mega-company then behaves badly, and everybody just stands around with a stupid look on their face. Rinse, wash, repeat."

    Given that the apparent definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results... Could we conclude from this that US Politicians are insane?

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

    • identicon
      Rocky, 2 Nov 2018 @ 10:18am

      Re: Insanity

      > Given that the apparent definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results... Could we conclude from this that US Politicians are insane?

      When the politicians actually benefits from the action it's not insane.

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 2 Nov 2018 @ 11:24am

    Obligatory...

    And we wonder why more and more people continue to go on the account.

    Yo ho ho!
    It's one for all for one!
    And we'll share and share alike with you
    And love you like a son!

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 2 Nov 2018 @ 12:23pm

    you wonder why..

    I find it strange that a few things over the years have not happened to HELP our systems..

    A box for 'None of the above' would work wonders for elections..
    Also that you COUNT those that are not Signed up to vote, as PART of the REQUIREMENT for >50% vote..
    Its strange, that no one votes for aa person in an election, Except that 1 person...AND HE WINS..
    'None of the above would solve this'

    Would it be nice to have the Choice of WHO RUNS?? but we dont get that choice. Lets give them all an SAT TEST as they did to us, while in school. LETS find the smart ones.


    But we need to get rid of allot of them FIRST..

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


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