29 December 2006

AT&T BellSouth merger

In case you haven't been following the saga of this merger, you might want read this short item to bring you up to speed. Now, in an effort to break the deadlock, AT&T submitted this letter to the FCC in which they outline further commitments. The mainstream media (MSM) is reporting this as a win for "net neut*" advocates. Om Malik has a different view, though ...

I find it interesting to speculate on the cost-benefit computations that underly these further commitments. It is not possible to estimate these without more extensive research, as the letter reports targets and not the current state of affairs. If these costs can be estimated, then we will presumably be able to estimate the benefits that AT&T expects to obtain from the merger. This article provides a start at this analysis.

Update: The merger was approved on 29 December. Here is the FCC statement; you might also want to read the statements of the commissioners as well (here, here, here and here). This article provides a summary, as does this one. As these articles indicated, "net neut*" "purists" were not particularly happy. For examples of their concerns, see this, this, this, and this, among many others. On the other hand, this presents a more pragmatic analysis.

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