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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 been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.