Politics

CA Public Utilities Commission to Probe AT&T/T-Mobile Deal

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Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Coordinator, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

Consumer Advocates Applaud Vote, Urge Close FCC Scrutiny of Deal

Policy experts at The Greenlining Institute applauded today’s decision by the California Public Utilities Commission to investigate AT&T’s proposed purchase of T-Mobile and urged the Federal Communications Commission to closely scrutinize the planned merger.

The CPUC investigation will focus on the merger’s “effect on California ratepayers and the California economy.” With this action, California joins a growing number of states whose authorities have raised objections to the merger, pledged to investigate it themselves, or supported such investigations, including the New York Public Service Commission, Louisiana Public Service Commission, New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel and the attorneys general of New York and Connecticut.

“We hope this action sends a message to the FCC,” said Greenlining Institute General Counsel Samuel S. Kang.  “The last time it reviewed a major merger, between Comcast and NBC-Universal, the FCC never held any public hearings in California, home to two of the nation’s largest media markets. This time, the FCC needs to get out of its beltway bubble and hear from the public. Right now, the FCC has an image of being too close to corporate interests, and scheduling public hearings in California would help to show that it takes its responsibilities seriously.

“This acquisition has huge implications and deserves close examination,” Kang added.  “Many of us are worried about the future of low-cost broadband access in the much less competitive environment this deal would produce.”