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AT&T

AT&T To Cough Up $88 Million For 'Cramming' Mobile Customer Bills (networkworld.com) 28

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Network World: Some 2.7 million ATT customers will share $88 million in compensation for having had unauthorized third-party charges added to their mobile bills, the Federal Trade Commission announced this morning. The latest shot in the federal government's years-long battle against such abuses, these refunds will represent the most money ever recouped by victims of what is known as "mobile cramming," according to the FTC. From an FTC press release: "Through the FTC's refund program, nearly 2.5 million current ATT customers will receive a credit on their bill within the next 75 days, and more than 300,000 former customers will receive a check. The average refund amount is $31. [...] According to the FTC's complaint, ATT placed unauthorized third-party charges on its customers' phone bills, usually in amounts of $9.99 per month, for ringtones and text message subscriptions containing love tips, horoscopes, and 'fun facts.' The FTC alleged that ATT kept at least 35 percent of the charges it imposed on its customers." The matter with ATT was originally made public in 2014 and also involved two companies that actually applied the unauthorized charges, Tatto and Acquinity.
Businesses

T-Mobile's 'Digits' Solution Lets You Use One Phone Number Across All Your Devices (theverge.com) 46

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: T-Mobile just revealed its answer to ATT's NumberSync technology, which lets customers use one phone number across all their connected devices. T-Mobile's version is called Digits and it will launch in a limited, opt-in customer beta beginning today before rolling out to everyone early next year. "You can make and take calls and texts on whatever device is most convenient," the company said in its press release. "Just log in and, bam, your call history, messages and even voicemail are all there. And it's always your same number, so when you call or text from another device, it shows up as you." When it leaves beta, Digits will cost an extra monthly fee, but T-Mobile isn't revealing pricing today. "This is not going to be treated as adding another line to your account," said COO Mike Sievert. "Expect us to be disruptive here." And while its main feature is one number for everything, Digits does offer T-Mobile customers another big perk: multiple numbers on the same device. This will let you swap between personal and work numbers without having to maintain separate lines and accounts. You can also give out an "extra set" of Digits in situations where you might be hesitant to give someone your primary number; this temporary number forwards to your devices like any other call. You can have multiple numbers for whatever purposes you want, based on T-Mobile's promotional video.
AT&T

FCC Calls Out AT&T, Verizon For 'Zero Rating' Their Own Video Apps (zdnet.com) 56

U.S. regulators are calling out AT&T and Verizon for exempting their own video apps from data caps on customers' smartphones. The FCC has sent letters to the country's biggest wireless carriers saying the way they handle the practice, known as "zero rating," can hurt competition and consumers. From a report on ZDNet: AT&T launched DirecTV Now earlier this week. AT&T Mobility customers can stream video data over LTE without impacting their data allowance. Verizon offers something similar with its go90 service. AT&T and Verizon don't see any wrongdoing. In a statement Friday, AT&T said exempting services like DirecTV Now from data caps saves customers money. Verizon said its practices are good for consumers and comply with regulations. "We will provide the FCC with additional information on why the government should not take away a service that saves consumers money," AT&T wrote in a statement Friday. The FCC hasn't released any official ruling on "zero rating," just guidance. It said on Thursday a similar letter was sent to AT&T in November, but the FCC didn't like AT&T's original response.
AT&T

AT&T Unveils DirecTV Now Streaming TV Service With Over 100 Channels (theverge.com) 80

ATT has officially unveiled its DirecTV Now internet TV streaming service, which launches Wednesday, November 30th, in the U.S. on iPhone, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, and PC/Mac, starting at $35 per month. The Verge reports: Like its over-the-top rivals, DirecTV Now will let customers stream live programming on smartphones, tablets, and PCs -- no cable box necessary -- and requires no long-term contracts or commitments. For a limited time, ATT will offer the "Go Big" channel tier with 100 channels for $35 per month. If you sign up in time, the offer will remain valid each month until you cancel. But that $35 rate is not the long-term pricing for 100+ channels. DirecTV Now offers step-up subscriptions that include other channels and content for a higher monthly cost. ATT has signed programming agreements with nearly all major networks with the exception of CBS and Showtime; negotiations with those companies remain ongoing. DirecTV Now allows customers to watch up to two streams simultaneously. HBO and Cinemax can be added to any of these packages for just $5 extra (each) per month. DirecTV Now is "zero rated" for the company's wireless customers, so regardless of how much time they spend streaming, that activity will have no impact on data usage for their monthly bill. Importantly, while these are the subscription rates as of today, the company is being straightforward about the possibility of increases in the future. ATT also plans to air original shows including a Taylor Swift series.
AT&T

Apple's Chip Choices May Leave Some iPhone Users in Slow Lane (bloomberg.com) 35

Not all iPhone 7s are created equal, it turns out. The latest flagship smartphones from Apple that run on Verizon's network are technically capable of downloading data faster than those from AT&T. Yet in testing, the two phones perform about the same, according to researchers at Twin Prime Inc. and Cellular Insights. From a Bloomberg report: Neither firm is clear on the reason, but Twin Prime says it may be because Apple isn't using all the potential of a crucial component in the Verizon version. "The data indicates that the iPhone 7 is not taking advantage of all of Verizon's network capabilities," said Gabriel Tavridis, head of product at Twin Prime. "I doubt that Apple is throttling each bit on the Verizon iPhone, but it could have chosen to not enable certain features of the network chip." "Every iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus meets or exceeds all of Apple's wireless performance standards, quality metrics, and reliability testing," Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said. "In all of our rigorous lab tests based on wireless industry standards, in thousands of hours of real-world field testing, and in extensive carrier partner testing, the data shows there is no discernible difference in the wireless performance of any of the models." It would be an unusual step for a major phone company to restrain its devices. Normally, companies battle to make the fastest, most reliable handsets. Apple may be doing this because it wants to ensure a uniform iPhone experience, according to analysts.
AT&T

AT&T Will Offer a Lower-Quality Video Option But Without a Discount (fortune.com) 48

After T-Mobile and Sprint introduced lower-cost wireless plans in return for customers accepting lower quality video streaming, AT&T is following suit. An anonymous reader shares a Fortune report:The second-largest wireless carrier said it would introduce a feature starting next year called "Stream Saver" to let customers voluntarily downgrade streaming video from any service -- including YouTube and Netflix -- to DVD quality. But AT&T will not lower prices or give a discount to customers activating the lower-quality stream, which would use much less data than watching a typical high-definition video stream. The data used will also still count against a customer's monthly data allowance. AT&T emphasized that the optional feature was intended to help customers use less data, essentially stretching their monthly allowance to go further. "Stream saver lets them enjoy more of what they love," David Christopher, chief marketing officer in AT&T's entertainment group, said in a statement. "And, they are in control -- it's their choice on how to use this innovative feature."
Government

How President Trump Could Destroy Net Neutrality (vice.com) 235

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Donald Trump's presidential election victory could have dire consequences for U.S. internet freedom and openness, according to several tech policy experts and public interest advocates surveyed by Motherboard on Wednesday. The Republican billionaire will likely seek to roll back hard-won consumer protections safeguarding net neutrality, the principle that all internet content should be equally accessible, as well as a host of other policies designed to protect consumers, ensure internet freedom, and promote broadband access, these experts and advocates said. In the wake of Trump's election victory, FCC Chairman Wheeler is likely to step down before the billionaire reality TV star is inaugurated in January. Incoming presidents traditionally have the prerogative to select the leader of FCC, which has broad regulatory power over the nation's cable, phone and satellite companies. It's unclear whom Trump might nominate to lead the FCC, but Ajit Pai, the Kansas-born Republican FCC commissioner and former Verizon lawyer, is likely to be a contender. Trump has tapped Jeffrey Eisenach, a conservative scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, to lead his telecom policy transition team, according to Politico. Eisenach is a well-known figure in right-wing telecommunications policy circles, with a reputation as a "crusader against regulation." One immediate consequence of Trump's election is a dimmer outlook for ATT's proposed $85 billion buyout of entertainment giant Time Warner. Last month, Trump vowed to block the deal, warning that it would result in "too much concentration of power in the hands of too few." Trump's ignorance about tech and telecom policy was on full display throughout the election season. For example, Trump blithely compared net neutrality to the FCC's old Fairness Doctrine, a bizarre and ignorant assertion for which he was roundly mocked. The Fairness Doctrine, which was eliminated decades ago, required media outlets to afford a "reasonable opportunity" for the airing of opposing views on major issues. Net neutrality has nothing to do with the Fairness Doctrine, but rather ensures that consumers have open, unfettered access to the internet. Net neutrality can't be torpedoed overnight. The FCC rules prohibiting online fast lanes and discriminatory broadband practices are now U.S. policy, and they can't be dismantled at the whim of an authoritarian president. But a Trump-backed, Republican-led FCC could simply stop enforcing the net neutrality policy, rendering it essentially toothless. That could unleash the nation's largest cable and phone companies, including Comcast, AT&T and Verizon, to expand controversial practices like "zero-rating" that are designed to circumvent net neutrality.
Businesses

Trump Victory Clouds Outlook for Time Warner-AT&T, Other Mergers (reuters.com) 117

U.S. corporate dealmakers were likely to put major merger plans on hold as they assess whether U.S. President-elect Donald Trump will follow through on his populist promises and a threat to block AT&T's purchase of Time Warner, or act more like traditional business-friendly Republican administrations. From the report:Trump's rhetoric and the personal nature of the campaign, which included little discussion of policy, left many uncertain about the new U.S. leader's plans, including how his administration will handle mega-mergers. Wall Street braced for a drop in deals, with Goldman Sachs on Wednesday projecting a 20 to 30 percent downside for earnings of banks that focus on merger and acquisition advice, and Jefferies saying that uncertainty about Trump's policy on trade, healthcare, taxes and energy could hamper underwriting activity and M&A globally. "I think a lot of deals will hit the pause button for a bit until we get some clarity on whether President Trump will moderate or be as disruptive as some expect," said a senior Wall Street banker who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak with the media. "It's going to be a tough environment for everything until we see how [Trump] behaves as a leader," the banker added.
AT&T

DirecTV Now Leak Reveals Channels, Promotions of AT&T's Upcoming TV Service (variety.com) 45

It seems AT&T won't leave any stone unturned for its upcoming DirecTV Now streaming service. According to a new report, the company is planning to offer a free Apple TV set-top box or an Amazon Fire USB stick to people who subscribe to the service. From a report on Variety, which also details some channels that could be featured on DirecTV Now: The leaked documents detail that consumers who are willing to commit to at least three months of paid service will be able to get a free Apple TV as part of a device promotion. Consumers who pay for one month will get a free Fire TV streaming stick. Both devices are more expensive on their own than the service charges consumers would have to pay to qualify for each promotion. AT&T officially announced DirecTV Now as an internet-based live TV service earlier this year. The telco has since given us some idea about the programming, announcing deals with Disney, NBCUniversal and Viacom as well as Scripps, A&E Networks, Discovery, HBO, and Starz. Last month, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson announced that DirecTV Now will cost $35 per month and carry more than 100 channels when it launches in the coming weeks. The leaked customer-support documents didn't include complete channel lineups -- those also depend on the local markets of subscribers -- but they do give us a better idea of which other channels DirecTV Now aims to launch with. A partial list of channels included not only networks from the aforementioned partners, but also Univision networks like Galavision, Univision and UniMas, Fox and MundoFox, CBS, HDNet Movies, the Hallmark Channel and the Sony Movie Channel.
AT&T

US Government Sues AT&T/DirecTV, Calls It 'Ringleader' of Collusion Scheme (arstechnica.com) 113

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The Department of Justice today sued DirecTV and its owner, ATT, saying the satellite TV company colluded with competitors during contentious negotiations to broadcast Los Angeles Dodgers games. Dodgers games have been blacked out in much of Los Angeles because pay-TV providers have been unwilling to pay the price demanded by SportsNet LA, the Dodgers channel operated by the baseball franchise and Time Warner Cable. But the DOJ's antitrust division placed the blame for this situation on ATT and DirecTV. In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in California, it alleges that DirecTV was a "ringleader" in a coordinated scheme with cable companies Cox and Charter, according to a DOJ announcement. ATT completed its purchase of DirecTV in July 2015, but the complaint covers a dispute that began before the merger and continues to this day. The Dodgers channel owners offered carriage licenses to the pay-TV companies in January 2014, but the channel is still not available on DirecTV, Cox, or ATT's wireline TV service. (Games are now available on Charter, which purchased Time Warner Cable this year.) The lawsuit "alleges that DirecTV unlawfully exchanged competitively-sensitive information with Cox, Charter, and ATT during the companies' negotiations for the right to telecast the Dodgers Channel," the DOJ announcement said. "Specifically, the complaint alleges that DirecTV and each of these competitors agreed to and did exchange non-public information about their companies' ongoing negotiations to telecast the Dodgers Channel, as well as their companies' future plans to carry -- or not carry -- the channel." The companies used this strategy "to obtain bargaining leverage and to reduce the risk that they would lose subscribers if they decided not to carry the channel but a competitor chose to do so." The information these companies learned from each other "through these unlawful agreements" was a major factor in their decision not to carry the Dodgers channel, the complaint said. ATT said it will fight the lawsuit and blamed Time Warner Cable for charging unreasonably high prices. The asking price was reportedly about $5 a month per subscriber regardless of how many people watch the games.
Wireless Networking

The AT&T-Time Warner Merger Must Be Stopped (backchannel.com) 139

New submitter mirandakatz writes: AT&T's proposed merger with Time Warner is evidence that AT&T doesn't ever plan to invest in fiber to the home, writes Susan Crawford at Backchannel -- and that's just one of many reasons the merger is a catastrophic idea. Crawford writes: "It's hard to think of a single positive thing this merger will accomplish, other than shining a bright light on just how awful the picture is for data transmission in this nation. This deal should be dead on arrival. In fact, AT&T should spare us by dropping the idea now. This merger must not happen."From the report: Think about it. AT&T sells wires to about 51 million homes, far more than any other telephone or cable company in the country. Because of its large presence in many markets, it overlaps with cable companies in many places -- AT&T overlaps with Comcast in 45 percent of Comcast's footprint and with Charter in 52 percent of its footprint. But, after a flurry of debunked press releases, it's totally clear that AT&T has no real interest in upgrading its copper networks to fiber to the home. Its capital expenditures keep going down, not up. (Would you trust the future to a company that doesn't see the need to increase investments in its core business, and instead is content to harvest profit from its subscribers?)
AT&T

AT&T Falsely Claimed Pro-Google Fiber Rule Is Invalid, FCC Says (arstechnica.com) 22

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The Federal Communications Commission has given a helping hand to Louisville, Kentucky, in the city's attempt to enforce local rules that would make it easier for Google Fiber to compete against ATT. ATT sued the local government in Louisville and Jefferson County in February to stop a One Touch Make Ready (OTMR) ordinance designed to give Google Fiber or other new competitors faster access to utility poles. Today, the US government submitted a statement of interest (full text) on behalf of the FCC, which says that one of ATT's primary legal arguments is incorrect. ATT -- also known as BellSouth Telecommunications in Kentucky -- argued that the Louisville ordinance is preempted by the FCC's pole-attachment rules. The local ordinance "conflicts with the procedures created by the FCC, and upsets the careful balances struck by the FCC in crafting its pole attachment regulations," ATT's lawsuit said. But that is false, the FCC says. The FCC does have rules ensuring reasonable access to utility poles, but states are allowed to opt out of the federal pole-attachment rules if they certify to the commission that they regulate the rates, terms, and conditions of pole attachments. Kentucky is one of 20 states that has opted out of the federal regime and imposed its own rules, the FCC noted. Accordingly, the federal pole-attachment regulations enacted under Section 224 [of the Communications Act] simply do not apply here," the FCC wrote. More generally, One Touch Make Ready rules are consistent with federal communications policies and regulations that seek expanded broadband deployment, the FCC also wrote.
AT&T

CenturyLink To Buy Level 3 For $34 Billion, Create a More Formidable Competitor To AT&T (bloomberg.com) 67

In what is seen as a move to build a more formidable competitor to AT&T, rival CenturyLink today announced it is buying Level 3 Communications for about $34 billion in cash and stock. From a report on Bloomberg: Both companies have amassed giant networks to haul internet traffic through deals over the years. Level 3 is one of the largest providers used by internet services including Netflix and Google to route traffic across the web, operations that would bolster CenturyLink's core offerings to businesses. Level 3 was the second-biggest U.S. provider of ethernet services -- running high-bandwidth internet connections for companies -- in the first half of this year, trailing only AT&T, according to Vertical Systems Group. CenturyLink was fifth on the list.
AT&T

'Robocall Strike Force' Proposal Could Stop Caller ID Spoofing (onthewire.io) 97

This summer the FCC convened a "Robocall Task Force" to help consumers fight unwanted automated telemarketers, and Wednesday the coalition finally delivered a report recommending a "Do Not Originate" list so carriers could spot spoofed numbers which should be blocked. A trial of the "DNO" list that's been running for the last few weeks on some IRS numbers has resulted in a 90 percent drop in the volume of IRS scam calls, officials from AT&T, which leads the strike force, said during the FCC meeting Wednesday. The carriers on the strike force, which include Sprint, Verizon, and many others, plan to continue testing the DNO list in the coming months, with the intent to fully implement it some time next year...

The strike force members also are working on a system to classify calls into categories, such as political or charity, as a way to give consumers more information before they answer calls from unknown numbers. And, the group said it has developed a working solution for authentication between VoIP applications and traditional landline networks as another way to defeat spoofing from callers in foreign countries.

Early next year they're planning larger tests -- and the strike force has also created a new site describing how to block and report robocalls.
AT&T

AT&T Service Outages Hit The Midwest Friday (wgntv.com) 21

An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes WGN: Customers using AT&T for phone and Internet reported widespread outages across Chicago and the Midwest Friday starting around 3 p.m. and going into the evening, according to the website DownDetector. In addition to Chicago, customers in St. Louis, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati also reported issues like receiving a "Call Failed" message or a recording when they tried to make phone calls, or Internet simply not working. Outages in the Chicago area seem to have peaked around 8 p.m. The number of people registering issues on the website Outage Report seems to have peaked around that time as well.
The outage "has been repaired," reported an Indiana TV station early Saturday morning. Anyone else having connectivity issues? Share your stories in the comments.
Google

Comcast Sues Nashville To Halt Rules That Give Google Fiber Faster Access To Utility Poles (arstechnica.com) 95

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Comcast yesterday sued the Nashville metro government and mayor to stop a new ordinance designed to give Google Fiber faster access to utility poles. Comcast's complaint in U.S. District Court in Nashville (full text) is similar to one already filed by AT&T last month. Both ISPs are trying to invalidate a One Touch Make Ready ordinance that lets new ISPs make all of the necessary wire adjustments on utility poles themselves instead of having to wait for incumbent providers like AT&T and Comcast to send work crews to move their own wires. The ordinance was passed largely to benefit Google Fiber, which is offering service in Nashville but says that it hasn't been able to deploy faster because it is waiting to get access to thousands of poles. Nearly all the Nashville utility poles are owned either by the municipal Nashville Electric Service or AT&T. Because Comcast has wires on many of the poles, it has some control over how quickly Google Fiber can expand its network. When Google Fiber wants to attach wires to a new pole, it needs to wait for ISPs like Comcast to move their wires to make room for Google Fiber's. The Nashville One Touch Make Ready ordinance "permits third parties to move, alter, or rearrange components of Comcast's communications network attached to utility poles without Comcast's consent, authorization, or oversight, and with far less notice than is required by federal law and by an existing Comcast contract with Metro Nashville," Comcast's complaint said. Comcast asked the court to declare the ordinance invalid and permanently enjoin Nashville from enforcing it. The pre-existing Make Ready process "seek[s] to ensure that all providers can share available pole space cooperatively and safely, without interfering with or damaging any provider's equipment or services," Comcast said. The new procedures mandated by Nashville "are so intrusive that, tellingly, Metro Nashville has wholly exempted its own utility pole attachments from the Ordinance's coverage." Even though Google Fiber announced yesterday that it will pause operations and cut 9% of its staff, the ISP said it would continue operations in Nashville.
AT&T

AT&T CEO: DirecTV Now Streaming Service Will Cost $35 a Month (variety.com) 121

AT&T's upcoming DirecTV Now streaming service is going to cost $35 a month, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said during a panel at the Wall Street Journal's WSJD Live conference. The package wlll include over 100 channels, he added. From a Variety report: This price point is a significant departure from the company's previous stance, when it suggested that it would launch a premium product that wasn't looking to undercut existing pay TV services. Stephenson argued that it can afford this lower price point because DirecTV Now doesn't require operator-owned set-top boxes, satellite dishes, and customer service home visits. AT&T is set to launch DirecTV Now next month. The service will include channels from cablers like A+E Networks and Scripps, as well as broadcasters like Fox and NBCUniversal.
AT&T

AT&T Is Spying on Americans For Profit, New Documents Reveal (thedailybeast.com) 161

AT&T has been secretly spying on its own customers, the Daily Beast reports. The revelation comes days after the top carrier announced plans to purchase Time Warner. The report claims that AT&T ran a program called Project Hemisphere through which it analyzed cellular data from the company's call records to determine where a given individual is located and with whom they are speaking. The New York Times reported about the program's existence in 2013, but it was described as a "partnership" between A&T and the government for fighting narcotics trafficking. But today's report, which cites several classifed documents, claims that AT&T used Hemisphere for a range of other functions -- and always without a warrant. From the report:Hemisphere is a secretive program run by AT&T that searches trillions of call records and analyzes cellular data to determine where a target is located, with whom he speaks, and potentially why. [...] Hemisphere isn't a "partnership" but rather a product AT&T developed, marketed, and sold at a cost of millions of dollars per year to taxpayers. No warrant is required to make use of the company's massive trove of data, according to AT&T documents, only a promise from law enforcement to not disclose Hemisphere if an investigation using it becomes public. These new revelations come as the company seeks to acquire Time Warner in the face of vocal opposition saying the deal would be bad for consumers. While telecommunications companies are legally obligated to hand over records, AT&T appears to have gone much further to make the enterprise profitable, according to ACLU technology policy analyst Christopher Soghoian. "Companies have to give this data to law enforcement upon request, if they have it. AT&T doesn't have to data-mine its database to help police come up with new numbers to investigate," Soghoian said. AT&T has a unique power to extract information from its metadata because it retains so much of it. The company owns more than three-quarters of U.S. landline switches, and the second largest share of the nation's wireless infrastructure and cellphone towers, behind Verizon. AT&T retains its cell tower data going back to July 2008, longer than other providers. Verizon holds records for a year and Sprint for 18 months, according to a 2011 retention schedule obtained by The Daily Beast.
AT&T

AT&T's $85B US Bid For Time Warner Sparks Antitrust Fears in Washington (www.cbc.ca) 116

An anonymous reader writes: The two top members of the Senate's antitrust subcommittee said Sunday that they plan to probe a colossal deal between AT&T and Time Warner. In a statement, Mike Lee, R-Utah., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. -- chairman and ranking Democrat, respectively, of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights -- said AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner "would potentially raise significant antitrust issues" that the panel would "carefully examine." AT&T Chairman and Chief Executive Randall Stephenson announced the $85 billion deal Saturday as "a great fit" that will combine the "world's best premium content with the networks to deliver it to every screen." Among those new properties are HBO, Turner Broadcasting System and Warner Bros., which would give them ownership of Cinemax, CNN and DC Comics, to name a few. Last year, AT&T completed the purchase of DirecTV, the country's largest satellite television provider. In an interview with NBC News, Klobuchar pointed to past mega-media acquisitions -- including the purchase of NBCUniversal by Comcast in 2011 and of Time Warner Cable by Charter Communications -- and said the "sheer volume" of the deal should give regulators pause.Presidential candidate Donald Trump has said that he would not approve of this deal if elected as the President. In the meanwhile, Bernie Sanders have also asked Obama administration to kill this agreement. The Vermont Senator said, "The deal would mean higher prices and fewer choices for the American people,"
AT&T

AT&T Buys Time Warner For $85B. Is The Mass Media Consolidating? (reuters.com) 132

Though regulators may not agree, "Time Warner and AT&T reps claim this is necessary just to compete," warns Mr D from 63. Reuters reports: The tie-up of AT&T Inc and Time Warner Inc, bringing together one of the country's largest wireless and pay TV providers and cable networks like HBO, CNN and TBS, could kick off a new round of industry consolidation amid massive changes in how people watch TV... Media content companies are having an increasingly difficult time as standalone entities, creating an opportunity for telecom, satellite and cable providers to make acquisitions, analysts say. Media firms face pressure to access distribution as more younger viewers cut their cable cords and watch their favorite shows on mobile devices. Distribution companies, meanwhile, see acquiring content as a way to diversify revenue.
The deal reflects "big changes in consumption of video particularly among millennials," according to one former FCC commissioner, and the article also reports that the deal "will face serious opposition." Massachusetts Democrat Edward Markey warned "we need more competition, not more consolidation... Less competition has historically resulted in fewer choices and higher prices for consumers..." And in a Saturday speech, Donald Trump called it " an example of the power structure I'm fighting...too much concentration of power in the hands of too few."

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