An acquisition deal between AT&T and DirecTV has been in the works for a little while now, and just recently in the middle of last month it was reported that the deal seemed likely to be approved by FCC regulators. AT&T announced the agreement to purchase DirecTV for the amount of $50 billion on May 18th, and during the announcement they also discussed potential benefits for customers which could come from the deal if and when it was approved. The Washington Post reports that the acquisition may potentially be approved as early as next week and that AT&T could agree to specific FCC requirements and conditions.
AT&T has been against the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules since before they were put in place, and has gone so far as to join a group of other companies which are currently suing to reverse the net neutrality rules that have already been approved. However, AT&T’s involvement in the case would mean nothing even if the rules were overturned as they would be bound by the agreement set forth by the FCC as part of the approval of the DirecTV acquisition, and would be required to adhere to them until the length of the agreement was over. At this time it isn’t known exactly how long that agreement would be since there has been no official announcement of the acquisition approval nor any terms set forth by the FCC or AT&T in regards to the deal.
As part of the net neutrality rules, companies like AT&T are prohibited from slowing down data access to certain websites, nor can they block certain web sites from being accessed by customers. They also aren’t allowed to give specific web sites prioritization for a fee over other sites which have been slowed down or blocked. If the FCC approves the DirecTV deal AT&T will very likely be committing to adhere to these rules on web related bans to make sure things go smoothly.