From Senator Diane Feinstein:
Thank you for writing to me about the AT&T/BellSouth merger and network neutrality. I appreciate your taking the time to share your views.
Although the Senate Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over antitrust and merger policies and oversight, the Senate does not review or approve individual mergers. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Communications Commission share jurisdiction over the proposed merger between AT&T and BellSouth. It is their duty to carefully review, among other things, the potential implications of the merger on consumers and to impose any necessary conditions or safeguards.
The Justice Department has already approved this merger and found no anticompetitive effects that would warrant any merger conditions. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has not yet approved the merger; it recently concluded accepting public comments.
Although the Department of Justice did not impose any merger conditions, the Democratic-appointed Commissioners of the FCC have proposed a network neutrality condition to the merger. Under the proposed condition, AT&T/BellSouth would continue to conduct its business in accordance with the principles set forth in the FCC's Policy Statement on network neutrality. AT&T/BellSouth does not object to this condition.
As a member of the Judiciary Committee, I follow merger and antitrust issues with great interest because consumer choice is important and we should foster competition. I agree with the general principles of network neutrality that owners of the networks that provide access to the Internet should not control how consumers lawfully use that network and should not be able to discriminate against content provider access to that network.
Please know that when legislation regarding network neutrality comes before the Senate I will be sure to keep your specific views in mind.Once again, thank you for writing.
If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841.
United States Senator