New Media Rights files Reply Comments in the AT&T - T-mobile merger review at the California Public Utiltities Commission

New Media Rights and its affiliates Utility Consumers' Action Network and Privacy Rights Clearinghouse filed Reply Comments to the California Public Utilities Commission investigation into the AT&T - T-mobile merger.  After attending the innovation and consumer workshops, and reading a mountain of additional paperwork, we're more convinced than ever that the CPUC should recommend denial of the merger.

We talk about specific reasons why the Commission should recommend denial of the merger at the FCC, and also suggest that in the event the Commission does choose to recommend to the FCC to approve with the merger, some significant conditions should be placed on the merger by California to hold AT&T to its promises.  These conditions include

  • The Commission should recommend to the Federal Communications Commission that all of the conditions placed on the C-Block, effectively now of Verizon Wireless’ LTE Network, should also be placed on AT&T’s LTE Network to ensure consumers have at a minimum the same openaccess options available to them between their two LTE options.

New Media Rights also strongly encouraged the Commission to require AT&T to fulfill the four recommendations of Professor Susan Crawford as a condition of or subsequent to the merger. Professor Crawford in her written statement presented the following four ideas

  • (1) require that free highest speed-possible wireless access be provided in perpetuity throughout California’s major cities,
  • (2) require AT&T to use some of the ample fiber it controls to wire anchor institutions and open those connections on standard, reasonable terms to anyone who asks,
  • (3) enlist AT&T’s concrete aid in the building of community-owned fiber networks throughout California, and
  • (4) require that AT&T permit accredited audits of its network performance.

New Media Rights believes that requiring these conditions would not only meet the regulatory duties of the California Public Utilities Commission, but it would help address the mandate of the California Broadband Council, in which the CPUC participates, which is to ensure broadband access and digital literacy across California.

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