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AT&T will welcome the net neutrality rules it hates so much… if it’s allowed to acquire DirecTV

AT&T Net Neutrality

You know those pesky new net neutrality rules? They’re not perfect, but they are shockingly consumer-friendly considering they were spearheaded by the FCC’s former cable lobbyist boss. There’s no question that they will help ensure that the Internet is a level playing field by preventing carriers from prioritizing traffic and throttling bandwidth. Of course, that’s why several big ISPs hate them so much.

Among the carriers that hate the new rules is AT&T, which hasn’t exactly tried to mask its feelings on net neutrality in the past. Behind closed doors, however, it appears as though the company is willing to completely forget that net neutrality violates its rights and harms its business… as long as its acquisition of DirecTV is allowed to proceed.

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Like Verizon, AT&T is seemingly prepared to use every legal option at its disposal to avoid having to honor the Federal Communications Commission’s new net neutrality rules. In court, the carrier has gone as far as to claim that net neutrality, as it currently exists, “violates the terms of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and the First and Fifth Amendments to the US Constitution.”

As it turns out, however, AT&T is seemingly more than willing to sing a different tune if regulators approve its proposed $50 billion acquisition of rival pay TV provider DirecTV Network.

Needless to say, The Washington Post has some pretty reliable sources in Washington. And on Wednesday, those sources said that AT&T’s negotiations with regulators have taken a pretty shameless turn.

Despite all of the money AT&T has spent lobbying against net neutrality, and despite all of its claims that the new rules will have a serious negative impact on its business and its ability to expand, the carrier is apparently more than willing to accept aspects of the FCC’s new rules if the Commission approves its DirecTV buy.

It’s currently unclear which “aspects” AT&T is willing to bend on, but this would mark a big departure from the company’s earlier claims. As some of you may recall, AT&T had previously said it would not make the current net neutrality rules a condition of the merger.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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