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Tech Edge

AT&T: Here's Why We Should Get to Buy DirecTV

By Laura Ryan (@NJLJRyan) with help from Brendan Sasso (@BrendanSasso)

TODAY'S TOP PARAGRAPH: AT&T lays out its case for a merger with DirecTV. Sen. Marco Rubio will introduce a bill to provide more spectrum for wireless carriers. Netflix's lobbyist warns interconnection fights could turn the Internet into cable TV. A federal court rules police in some states need a warrant to collect cell-phone location data. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and others will talk about cybersecurity at an American Enterprise Institute event today.

 

TOP NEWS

AT&T SAYS IT NEEDS DIRECTV TO FIGHT COMCAST: AT&T is claiming that joining forces with DirecTV would mean tougher competition and lower prices for consumers. In its public-interest filing with the FCC Wednesday, AT&T said a combined company would be able to offer "compelling" video and Internet bundles that can compete with the packages from cable giants Comcast and Time Warner Cable (which are also set to merge).

As it stands, DirecTV does not offer broadband Internet, and AT&T's U-Verse footprint is much smaller than those of competitors. The combined company could drive down payments to programmers and also bundle mobile phone service, AT&T said. The telecommunications company claimed the merger would boost Internet speeds for at least 15 million customers, many of whom live in rural areas. "Indeed, AT&T is so confident of these savings and other synergies that it is willing to commit to meet this target within four years from the close of this transaction," the company wrote in its filing.

To sweeten up the proposed merger for regulators, AT&T said it will abide by the 2010 Open Internet Order, as well as offer stand alone AT&T U-Verse Internet access and DirecTV video service for three years after the deal's closing.

 

RUBIO WANTS TO SELL GOVERNMENT AIRWAVES: Sen. Marco Rubio will introduce legislation this week that aims to free up more spectrum for wireless carriers. His bill, the Wireless Innovation Act, would reallocate 200 MHz of government spectrum for commercial use and incentivize government agencies to hand over more spectrum. The bill would set up staggered auctions beginning in 2018.

REPUBLICANS PRESS FCC TO LOOSEN MEDIA RULES: "I just think you guys don't get," Rep. Greg Walden told the head of the FCC's Media Bureau during a hearing of the House Communications Subcommittee on Wednesday. "The marketplace has changed dramatically and the statute requires you to get it." He warned that the FCC will kill local TV stations and newspapers if it doesn't loosen its media ownership caps.

But Rep. Anna Eshoo, the panel's top Democrat, warned against allowing further consolidation. Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush was particularly passionate, saying he has only seen "platitudes and feigned words of concern" over minority ownership from the FCC. He argued that the FCC shouldn't have abandoned its study on community information needs following a Republican uproar over the issue.

FBI: TECH COMPANIES' DISCLOSURES HURT INVESTIGATIONS: The new trend among major companies like Apple and Facebook of defying authorities to alert individuals about government data requests is inhibiting the FBI's ability to track down bad guys, FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday. During a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing, Comey told lawmakers that this increasingly frequent practice has led the FBI to halt investigations in order to avoid tipping off the bad guys. Alerting individuals about data requests could also have the unintended consequence of "smearing the innocent," Comey said.

 

TOP LINES

FACEBOOK TO GIVE ADVERTISERS MORE DATA: Facebook will include user's web browsing data in the profiles they give advertisers, a move that will surely stoke privacy concerns. (Reed Albergotti, WSJ) 

NETFLIX FEARS THE INTERNET COULD BECOME LIKE CABLE TV: Fights between big companies could leave Internet users in the dark, the video site's lobbyist warns. (Sasso, NJ)

COURT: POLICE NEED WARRANT TO TRACK CELL-PHONE LOCATION: The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals said warrantless location tracking violates the Fourth Amendment. (Sasso, NJ)

DON'T MISS TODAY'S TOP STORIES

I read the Tech Edge every morning."

Ashley, Senior Media Associate

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INTEL LOSES $1.6 BILLION EU LEGAL BATTLE: Intel lost its challenge against a record $1.6 billion fine the EU slapped on Intell five years ago for anticompetative business dealings. (Foo Yun Chee, Rueters)

UBER PROTESTS HALT TRAFFIC: Taxi protests against Uber across Europe literally stopped traffic but resulted in an 850 percent increase in Uber sign-ups. (Thomson/Rahn/Rascouet, Bloomberg)

SECURITY BREACH SHUTS DOWN TWEETDECK: Twitter promptly fixed a security flaw it discovered in its TweetDeck application. (Yoree Koh, WSJ)

ADD MUSIC STREAMING TO AMAZON'S REPERTOIRE: Amazon is expected to introduce a music streaming service that would give Amazon Prime subscribers access to a giant catalog of music. (Ben Sisario, NYT)

ONE-QUARTER OF GOVERNMENT WEBSITES DON'T USE ENCRYPTION: Federal websites scored on average 10 points lower than banks and social media sites for site security in a new study. (Allya Sternstein, NextGov)

COMCASTS TURNS HOUSTON INTO ONE GIANT HOTSPOT: Comcast is turning 50,000 of its customers' Wi-Fi routers into a giant network of public hotspots as part of a nationwide initiative to set up 8 million by the year's end. (Dwight Silverman, Houston Chronicle)

THE DAY AHEAD:

  • FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen, former NSA Director Keith Alexander, and Rep. Mike Rogers will speak at a cybersecurity event hosted by the American Enterprise Institute beginning at 8:45 a.m.

  • NSA Director Mike Rogers will give remarks at cybersecurity at 8:10 a.m. at a cybersecurity forum hosted by The Association of the U.S. Army Institute of Land Warfare.

  • Public Knowledge and Rep. Zoe Lofgren will host a panel discussion on cell-phone unlocking and the Digital Millenium Copyright Act at 12:30 a.m.

  • The ACLU, Microsoft, and The Washington Times will host a discussion on NSA legislation with Sen. Mike Lee, former NSA Director Mike Hayden, and PCLOB Chairman David Medine at 11 a.m.

DON'T MISS TODAY'S TOP STORIES

I read the Tech Edge every morning."

Ashley, Senior Media Associate

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