Who owns, controls, or influences media outlets.
Verizon agreed to buy TracFone, a provider of wireless prepaid services, in a deal worth up to $7 billion in cash and stock, further consolidating the US cellular market. TracFone, a unit of Mexico’s América Móvil SAB, has about 21 million prepaid customers in the US under its namesake brand as well as StraightTalk and Net10. The company doesn’t run its own physical network in the US and instead rides on other cellphone carriers’ systems for a fee and then resells service under its own brands.
Judge Victor Marrero of the United States District Court in Manhattan ruled in favor of T-Mobile’s takeover of Sprint in a deal that would further concentrate corporate ownership of technology, combining the nation’s third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers and creating a new telecommunications giant to take on AT&T and Verizon. The decision concluded an unusual suit filed in June by attorneys general from 13 states and the District of Columbia. The challenge was brought after regulators at the Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission approved the deal.
We don’t need to rank in importance the issues of special interest money, ludicrous redistricting, and big media. They are each part of a linked democratic challenge. There can be no real democracy without curbing big money. There can be no real democracy without making Congressional districts representative of the areas they encompass. There can be no real democracy without an electorate informed by media that digs for the facts citizens need to help chart the future of our country. Bring these three abuses under control and democracy can flourish again. Only We the People can make
Obviously, there's no bigger story this week than the possible impeachment of the 45th president of the United States. But if we still have your attention, here's some items of note we found this week. 1) Court Again Rejects FCC Attempt to Loosen Broadcast Ownership Rules. 2) Rebuilding Communications Infrastructure in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands 3) Defining the Digital Divide.
Moving backwards: consolidation, deregulation & lack of accountability in the US media and broadband industries
The US broadband and media industries are increasingly becoming consolidated, deregulated and freed of accountability, with little attention either from policymakers or the media. While Mexico is moving forward -- having recently developed new institutions and regulations intended to promote competition and accountability in telecommunications and media, the US is moving backwards. Competition in broadband and media in the US is vanishing as a result of decisions, big and small, by the Trump Administration.
The media merger pot keeps boiling. It appears that the Federal Communications Commission is about to approve another damaging deal, this one between Nexstar and Tribune. Nextar owns 171 television stations in 100 markets and Tribune has 44 stations in 33 markets. That translates into a national audience reach of 72 percent of U.S.
To address the loss of a mobile communications competitor that will result from the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has proposed a solution that seeks to enable DISH Network to emerge as a fourth national facilities-based wireless carrier. From an engineering perspective, however, DOJ’s approach to enabling DISH’s deployment is not guaranteed to prove adequate to maintain competition comparable to that currently offered over Sprint’s network.
Justice Department Settles with T-Mobile and Sprint in Their Proposed Merger by Requiring a Package of Divestitures to Dish
The Department of Justice announced that it and the Attorneys General for five states reached a settlement with T-Mobile and Sprint regarding their proposed merger. The settlement requires a substantial divestiture package in order to enable a viable facilities-based competitor to enter the market. Further, the settlement will facilitate the expeditious deployment of multiple high-quality 5G networks for the benefit of American consumers and entrepreneurs.
Last week, ten state attorneys general filed a lawsuit challenging the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint in a federal district court in New York. While it might not seem unusual for state officials tasked with enforcing antitrust and consumer protection laws to seek to halt the 4-to-3 horizontal merger of two of the nation’s mobile wireless companies, that the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice did not join the lawsuit was extraordinary.