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Netflix urges FCC to block AT&T-DirecTV merger, until conditions are met


Netflix Inc has urged the US Federal Communications Commission to reject the pending $48 billion merger of At&T and DirecTV. In 2014, Netflix had advised the FCC to set certain conditions before approval, and now the company argues the reasons on why the merger should be blocked.

Netflix states the merger would affect online video distributors like Netflix. As Comcast/TWC is not in the league, a post-merger between AT&T and DirecTV, can make it the nation’s largest MPVD (cable, stellit and fiber pay-TV). MPVD considers Netflix as a threat, and the huge broadband expansion plans of AT&T, is likely to affect online video distributors.

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“While we are participating in the government’s review, we are not opposing the merger,” said Anne Marie Squeo, a Netflix spokesperson.

AT&T stated that Netflix had shown its ability to harm online video distributors by controlling interconnection, and disrupting customer’s access to Netflix service. It is indeed true that AT&T U-verse users were receiving slow Netflix speeds, and Netflix had o pay an interconnection fee last year. Netflix also mentioned that the company is eager on data caps, and promotions like zero-rating could allow AT&T/DirectTV to push their own streaming services, eventually harming Netflix.

 Squeo stated that the merger of the companies would limit competition and innovation in the online video space. Representatives of Netflix met with FCC’s reviewers on April 30. The meeting just comes after a few days, after the strong opposition to merger between the largest cable providers, Comcast and Time Warner Cable Inc.

Netflix, Dish Network Corp, and other media companies are strongly opposed to the merger. Though Netflix states that it is not opposed to the merger, the statement to FCC, clearly mentions that it is opposed to the deal.  It remains to be seen if FCC considers the filing made by the company.

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About Anirudh Madhav

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A movie buff, a bookworm, and a compulsive doodler. All posts by Anirudh

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