AT&T Willing To Drop Crusade Against Net Neutrality To Seal DirecTV Deal
This is a big deal for AT&T, a major telecom that's been vehemently opposed to the agency's net neutrality rules, or at least the way it went about implementing them. The FCC earlier this year was successful in reclassifying broadband Internet as a utility under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, thus giving itself the power it needed to regulate ISPs.
ISPs are already bound to follow the Open Internet Order, but if AT&T agrees to follow them for a set period of time, it would be legally bound to the rules even if they're overturned in court. However, it's not known how long AT&T would be committing to the rules.
Even by making the above concession, the merger still wouldn't be a slam dunk for AT&T. That said, it would allow AT&T to focus on and negotiate other issues, such as offering a standalone Internet service for customers who aren't interested in a TV bundle, data caps, and interconnection fees like the one Comcast imposed on Netflix.