One day after AT&T CFO John Stephens said he expected the $49 billion melding with DirecTV to get regulatory approval “at any time,” the Federal Communications Commission has signed off on the deal today. Now the largest Pay TV provider in the nation, the newly merged company will have around 26 million cable and satellite subscribers. To that end, the FCC has imposed some conditions for the next four years on the rich AT&T and DirecTV marriage.
The approval comes with the stipulations that the new bigger-than-ever telecommunications giant grow its high-speed fiber network and build on the FCC’s Open Internet Order. That will include greater access for public libraries and schools as well as discounted pricing for millions of low income households to get them online. An independent compliance officer will also be in place to make sure that there will be no-data caps on the company’s broadband or discrimination against video services. “The conditions imposed by the commission address potential harms presented by the combination of AT&T, one of the nation’s largest telephone and Internet service providers, and DIRECTV, the nation’s largest satellite video provider,” said the FCC in a statement today. “This pretty much seals the merger as the Department of Justice has already stated that it would not contest the arrangement.