Congressman Johnson Calls on AT&T to Deploy Its Ultra-Fast Fiber Network in Atlanta

Targeted News Service |

WASHINGTON, June 24 -- Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga. (4th CD), has issued the following news release: U.S. Rep. Henry C. "Hank" Johnson, Jr. (D-GA) today made the following statement during the hearing on "The Proposed Merger of AT&T and DirecTV" in the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law (RRCAL). The Subcommittee will consider whether the proposed merger of AT&T--a global telecommunications company with approximately 11 million broadband subscribers, 5.6 million video subscribers, and 246,700 employees -- with DirecTV, the nation's second largest video provider serving approximately 20 million subscribers, will serve the public benefit or substantially lessen competition. Rep. Johnson is the ranking member of the RRCAL Subcommittee, which exercises jurisdiction over antitrust laws and competition. "The question at the heart of this merger is whether creating an integrated bundle of AT&T's broadband services and infrastructure with DirecTV's popular video programming would serve the public interest without substantially lessening competition. "Although the proposed merger represents a concerning trend toward industry consolidation, there is ample evidence that this transaction would create considerable public-interest benefits." AT&T argues that the improved bundle and cost savings generated by the merger will 'fundamentally and permanently improve the economics of AT&T's investment in broadband.' Specifically, AT&T plans to deploy its fiber network to two million homes with speeds up to one gigabit per second, and deploy high-speed broadband internet over a fixed wireless local loop to 13 million homes in largely rural areas with average speeds between 15 and 20 megabits per second. For millions of homes, this internet service will be the fastest ever, improving high-speed access for millions while indirectly benefitting other competitors by bringing these homes online. "As a strong advocate of digital inclusion, I commend this commitment to close the digital divide by bringing us measurably closer to the universal adoption of affordable, high-speed Internet. "It is critical that people of color remain competitive in the Internet economy, which starts with a fast and affordable Internet connection. "Additionally, this merger would benefit the public by expanding AT&T's industry-leading standards for labor and corporate diversity to DirecTV's employees and suppliers. Given the television industry's infamous reputation for opposing organized labor, this merger would have transformational benefit for thousands of employees by giving labor a strong foot-hold in the industry. "I urge the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice to view this merger in light of these public benefits, and to strongly hold the merged company to these commitments. "Furthermore, as it eyes more than several dozen cities for the deployment of its ultra-fast fiber network, I call on AT&T to deploy this advanced service in Atlanta, Georgia, which encompasses much of the district I represent. "Atlanta is swiftly becoming an innovation economy, driven to create, tinker, and improve products and design. Deploying an all-fiber network in Atlanta would immeasurably benefit many existing local startups, as well as untold entrepreneurs, app developers, and other innovators still emerging. "As a former county commissioner who understands the power of big ideas, I stand ready to work with both AT&T and local government to make this happen." TNS 18EstebanLiz-140625-30FurigayJane-4776915 30FurigayJane

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