Today, a federal judge allowed AT&T’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Inc. to move forward, rejecting the Justice Department’s argument that the merger violated antitrust law. AT&T, which is already one of the nation’s biggest broadband and telephone providers, announced the deal in October 2016. The Justice Department can appeal the ruling to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The ruling also comes just one day after the Federal Communications Commission officially repealed its 2015 net neutrality rules, giving AT&T unprecedented abilities to stifle competitors and act as a gatekeeper of the internet.
The following quote can be attributed to Joshua Stager, Policy Counsel at New America’s Open Technology Institute:
“Today's ruling is a loss for consumers and the American economy. The telecommunications market is badly broken, and this merger will only make it worse. AT&T is a serial offender on net neutrality and the poster child for destroying competitive markets. The Justice Department was right to bring this case on behalf of the American people and right to recognize that vertical deals can threaten innovation.
Ultimately, this is just one case decided by one judge, and an appeal is likely. The American people need strong antitrust enforcement, and we urge the Justice Department to continue its vigorous scrutiny of the telecommunications industry. Today's ruling also underscores why Congress must restore the net neutrality rules that helped keep AT&T in check.”