The Internet Innovation Alliance has publicly supported the proposed merger of AT&T (one of our members) and T-Mobile due to the real potential the merger will have for accelerated deployment of broadband services and delivery of high-speed connectivity to parts of our country that are currently underserved or have no broadband service whatsoever.
We believe the wider delivery of 4G LTE AT&T projects will be enabled by the merger will generate billions in new private investment and created tens of thousands of jobs when America needs them the most, along with a range of new opportunities in rural communities and enhanced education, health care and small business.
Thus we are disappointed by the reported opposition of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and the Commission staff to the proposed transaction. Moreover, we were surprised and disappointed by the agency’s decision to release publicly documents and the Staff Report on the application after AT&T has withdrawn the transaction from the FCC, an action described today as “unprecedented” by nominee Jessica Rosenworsal.
It was reported the Staff Report was released without even providing an opportunity for the parties the basic opportunity to see or address it first. It is extremely troubling that such procedural short cuts and attendant media attention may prejudice their efforts to reach an accommodation regarding the transaction with the Justice Department.
The FCC will clearly need to address any transactions proposed in the future, on their own merits, irrespective of the Staff Report about the withdrawn transaction. So we fail to see how the FCC’s public release of the Staff Report serves any constructuve purpose or enhances public confidence in the Commission’s future considerations.
The FCC plays an essential role in advancing the goals of the National Broadband Plan, which it adopted and which is supported by the Administration, many in Congress, and the IIA. That role requires identification and advancement of critical policies, such as USF and spectrum reforms. It also requires the integrity of the FCC’s process to ensure all supplicants, large and small, receive a fair and even opportunity to make their case and to amend their petitions, unprejudiced by leaks to the media or prior analyses which may bias the consideration of prior or future applications.