The long expected merger of AT&T with Bell South has been approved, making the new company the largest telecommunications company in the country. From a March 7 article on MSNBC:
The new company would be the countryâ€™s largest phone company â€” with nearly half of all lines. It also would be the largest cell-phone carrier and the largest provider of broadband Internet service.
But also from that article, little mentioned so far today, is the estimate that the new merger will result in the elimination of up to 10,000 jobs. It waits to be seen if the new company will pass on any cost savings to customers or improve service in any way. Given the recent fiber break in this area and the lack of any public response from the company, I am not expecting anything much.
One positive result of the FCC agreement to allow the merger was a new set of conditions from AT&T which includes a commitment to uphold the principle of Network Neutrality. According to Ars Techinca, the letter was exacted by a couple Democrats on the FCC who were holding out for more commitments from AT&T.
Columbia Law Professor Tim Wu has a good analysis of the agreement. It appears that while the agreement is a big step forward for supporters of Net Neutrality, it is not as complete or as long lasting as we would like.