StimulatingBroadband.com 11/22/2011 San Francisco - Federal Communications Chairman Julius Genachowski has begun a process which will result in the official rejection by the Commission of the proposed $39 billion acquisition of wireless carrier T-Mobile by AT&T.
FCC Staff Finds Jobs & Investment Loss in Deal
"The record clearly shows that -- in no uncertain terms -- this merger would result in a massive loss of US jobs and investment," said a senior official of the Commission in the only direct quote released to media by Commission staff this afternoon.
The move is a clear signal that Genachowski and his two Democratic colleagues on the Commission will vote against approval of the controversial merger, when the actual item eventually moves before the Commission following both an administrative hearing and antitrust action in the federal courts.
Official sources at the Federal Communications Commission this afternoon held an on background briefing with media including this publication. Chairman Genachowski today put "on circulation" to his fellow Commissioners and staff 2 proposed Orders. The first argues for a finding of facts that the AT&T - T-Mobile merger would not be in the public interest. The second deals with the proposed $1.9 million acquisition by AT&T of Qalcomm's nationwide wireless spectrum in the heavily sought 700 MHz frequency range.
Details from the media briefing confirmed the Chairman's call for an administrative hearing on the merger proposal, as first reported this afternoon by the Wall Street Journal's technology policy reporter, Amy Schatz. An administrative hearing held befoere an adminsitative law judge (ALJ) of the Commission is triggered when staff and Commissioners reach a finding of fact that a proposed aqusition of radio spectrum licenses would not be in the public interest. The ALJ essentially conducts a civil trial at which AT&T would argue in favor of the acquisition, while oppents marshal facts against the deal.
Qualcomm 700 MHz Spectrum Order
Senior Commission officials conducting the media call on background stated that no details relating to Genchowski's draft Oder on the AT&T - Qualcomm spectrum deal would be released until Commissioners had a chance to deliberate on the issue. Previous reports, and the Commission proceding on the issue, have identified the 700 MHz spectrum as covering upwards 300 million Americans.