Netflix Wants FCC To Block AT&T And DirecTV Merger: Here's Why


Water under the bridge? Netflix Inc. has kept up its persistent attempts to dissuade the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from giving the green signal to the AT&T and DirecTV merger.

In a new development, Netflix asked the FCC to reject the impending merger of AT&T and DirecTV, which is worth $48 billion — unless the the company's concerns over the deal are addressed.

On Monday, May 4, the FCC released documents revealing that on April 30, officials from Netflix met with FCC members to deliberate on the impending merger. During the meeting, Netflix representatives reportedly stated that were the DirecTV and AT&T merger to happen, it could harm both Netflix and other online streaming services.

So why is Netflix against the AT&T and DirecTV merger? The streaming service has concerns that the merger could "prevent or delay cord-cutting" — meaning that consumers would decide against shifting from cable and satellite TV to online video streaming services.

The merger would also give AT&T and DirecTV the ability to slow down rival unbundled and over-the-top video offerings. The two could potentially become the "largest multichannel video programming distributor" in the U.S., following the merger.

"If AT&T is able to slow the development of the OVD industry, either by foreclosing access to broadband customers or imposing discriminatory data caps, AT&T would be able to preserve its market advantage by slowing or even reversing the shift toward competitive online video offering and away from bundled video/broadband offerings," Netflix told the FCC.

AT&T has chosen to remain mum on the issue.

Netflix, for its part, maintains that while it has voiced concerns, it is not attempting to block the AT&T and DirecTV merger. The company is looking for solutions that would help alleviate its concerns pertaining to competition.

"While we are participating in the government's review, we are not opposing the merger," said Anne Marie Squeo, a spokesperson for Netflix. "We've been highlighting concerns about AT&T's broadband practices and the need for appropriate remedies since last September."

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