In light of AT&T's decision to raise the prices on DirecTV Now subscribers by $10/month, and to drop channels like MTV, Comedy Central, BET, and BBC America (while adding more AT&T-owned content to the bundle), it’s worth reviewing some of what the telecom giant claimed during the recent trial over its merger with Time Warner:
Today, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the district court's earlier opinion, which permitted the AT&T/Time Warner merger to proceed, to stay in place. Public Knowledge supported the Justice Department’s challenge of the merger.
The Federal Communications Commission is required by law to review its media ownership rules every four years to determine whether they remain “necessary in the public interest.” If they do not, the FCC is to “repeal or modify” the regulations. Contrary to the apparent belief of the FCC, the Quadrennial Review is not simply about eliminating or relaxing rules. Rather, the purpose of the review is to serve the public interest. Therefore, when the FCC decides whether to keep, repeal, or modify current rules, some rules may need to be enhanced.
On Friday, Petitioners (including Public Knowledge) finally got to make their case in court that the Federal Communications Commission’s reckless abdication of responsibility over broadband was also illegal. For about five hours, in the ceremonial courtroom of the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse, in front of D.C. Circuit Judges Millett, Williams, and Wilkins, attorneys for Petitioners, for the FCC, and for intervenors on both sides got a grilling in a court that has become a regular forum for disputes over the status of broadband and the lawfulness of net neutrality rules.
Today, Public Knowledge joined 40 other consumer protection groups, digital divide advocates, and local government agencies -- including New York City -- in a letter urging Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to delay the vote on the “Restoring Internet Freedom” Draft Order, which would roll back the agency’s net neutrality rules if adopted. Specifically, the groups propose the FCC delay the vote until a pending court case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit -- the en banc review in Federal Trade Commission v. AT&T Mobility -- resolves.