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Sunday Discussion: Why I Don’t Support The AT&T / Comcast Deals

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I waited for this to happen today, and it became official today.  On Sunday afternoon, AT&T agreed to buy DirecTV for around $45 billion dollars.  It’s going to take about a year for the deal to be approved by federal regulators, but unless something very weird happens.  AT&T is going to be in the satellite business.  The deal has been rumored for a while now, and now with the boards of both businesses approving the deal, soon there is going to be one less media provider in America, and for the consumers, that is a very bad thing!  Unless you enjoy paying higher prices for your TV and internet, I am going to explain why this and the Comcast deals are a bad thing for America.

For starters, this deal is a huge move for AT&T.  The company has provided U-Verse for some customers which is their own cable TV service carried by AT&T’s phone network.  With AT&T now owning DirecTV, AT&T could end their U-Verse service and put those customers on DirecTV.  The phone line network from AT&T could now be used to provide more internet service for more customers, and with more and more people using the internet to stream TV shows and movies, the internet network could use more lines for the more information that is being used.

Second, AT&T may have wanted to buy DirecTV because of the recent news of Comcast wanting to buy Time Warner for $45 billion dollars.  We are entering a time of media providers who provides cable TV, high-speed internet, and phone service being merged and bought out because customers are getting tired of paying those TV bills that gets higher and higher every year.  Consumers are discovering better ways to watch their favorite TV shows via Netflix and Hulu for a much cheaper price each month.  This is why the broadcasters took Aereo to the Supreme Court, because broadcasters are losing money from those subscriber fees.

This is what I am afraid is going to happen.  More media providers are going to be bought out and merged.  This is going to cause the prices for TV and internet to go even higher.  If the media providers get to monopolize the content provider market, prices will get out of control, and people are going to get fed up.  Who wants to see prices getting higher and higher, no one!  If higher prices keep people from watching their favorite TV shows or watching their favorite movies, they are going to find ways to get around the higher prices and internet caps.  By the way, did you heard of Comcast wanting to impose internet caps on all customers, this will be coming to all high-speed internet customers in all cable companies, because the companies wants you to subscribe to cable, no matter how high the prices are.

Yes, AT&T would be able to negotiate better licensing deals with television programmers.  But do you remember the times of “Ma Bell”?  This was the time when most of the telephone networks was provided by one company, The Bell System.  In the 1980’s the US Justice Department broke up The Bell System.  Just because the one company phone business was too big in America.  With the buyouts and mergers of the telecommunications and media provider companies, I am afraid we will see Comcast and AT&T become way too big in America.  The question is, will the Federal Government stop mergers and buyouts from happening, so the content provider companies are not monopolized?

Look, I am more scared of what Comcast will do if they buy Time Warner more than AT&T buying DirecTV.  But the point is this, we can not let our media providers become too big and take over this country.  It might soon get to the point where one media provider like Comcast controls most of the cable channels and internet websites you see today.  That means less people will have a chance to see their work featured.  And you will be paying higher prices for TV while dealing with an internet bandwidth cap so you can’t stream the movies and TV shows you want to watch. If that is something you don’t want to see, you need to hope that the Federal Government will stop Comcast and possibly AT&T from getting bigger.

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