Monday, September 22, 2014

CWA's support of AT&T/DIRECTV merger based on fallacious logic

CWA says AT&T-DIRECTV merger will advance broadband buildout, help consumers, Workers | Speed Matters - Internet Speed Test: The AT&T/DIRECTV merger will improve the economics for AT&T’s investment in high-speed broadband, the critical infrastructure for the 21st century, CWA said. Video is the major driver of broadband expansion, producing the revenue stream to support investment in high-speed networks. As a stronger video competitor, a merged AT&T/DIRECTV will have the economic incentives to increase investment in the high-capacity networks that are so essential to drive economic growth, jobs, and the social benefits enabled by high-speed digital technology.

So asserts the Communications Workers of America in comments filed with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission in support of AT&T's acquisition of DIRECTV.

The problem is the logic does not hold up. AT&T's deriving additional revenues from DIRECTV video services does not necessarily mean those additional funds will be invested in landline Internet infrastructure.

And why should that be the case, AT&T will likely ask itself once the deal goes through, when satellite does the job of delivering video content to residential premises? Instead, any video revenue bump from the deal will likely be plowed into earnings and dividends, not CAPex.

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