Despite rejecting the proposed Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger on the grounds of reduced competition the FCC appears set to allow mergers of Internet and TV providers.
AT&T's proposed $48.5 billion acquisition of DirecTV will likely win approval from the Federal Communications Commission, The Wall Street Journal reports.
It also appears likely to let Time Warner be acquired, but by Charter Communications instead of Comcast.
The FCC hasn't publicly revealed any of its positions but according to sources the commission "sees the AT&T deal as helping competition and aiding the spread of broadband into rural areas that lack service". The two goals seem at odds and likely mean urban customers will see increased prices while rural customers will see expanded service.
FCC officials haven't yet finalized concessions that AT&T would have to make in exchange for approval, "but the commission’s staff is inclined to recommend the approval of the deal."
These conditions could include expanding high-speed broadband access in rural areas, price guarantees for broadband-only customers, and commitments to net neutrality.
The Department of Justice is reviewing the merger as well and "has yet to raise any significant issues, people familiar with the matter said."
AT&T said it expects to get final approval of the DirecTV merger by the end of June, according to its earnings announcement last week.