“We're witnessing a major transformation of the telecom industry — and it's going in exactly the wrong direction”
Sen. Al Franken, a reliable critic of media mergers, says he is “skeptical” of the proposed merger between AT&T and DirecTV.
The companies announced over the weekend that they have reached a $67 billion deal in which AT&T will acquire DirecTV. The deal follows February's announcement that Comcast plans to acquire Time Warner Cable.
“I'm skeptical that this deal is in consumers’ best interest,” the Minnesota Democrat said in a statement. “We're witnessing a major transformation of the telecom industry — and it's going in exactly the wrong direction. We're moving toward an industry with fewer competitors — where corporations are getting bigger and bigger and gaining more and more control over the distribution of information.”
Both the Comcast-Time Warner Cable and AT&T-DirecTV mergers need federal approval. Franken said he would push for the Federal Communication Commission to scrutinize the deal, and for congressional hearings.
“This hurts innovation, and it's bad for consumers, who have been getting squeezed by higher bills,” Franken said.