Here’s what the always-excellent telecom analyst Anna-Maria Kovacs has to say about the regulatory implications of the AT&T-SBC deal:
“As Congress works on rewriting the Telecom Act and as the FCC moves ahead on a whole host of issues ranging from inter-carrier compensation to the treatment of broadband and VoIP, the debate will be very different without AT&T. The major voices in Washington will be those of the ILECs, the cable companies, and the content providers.”
It’s a sobering thought. The counterweights to the incumbent local phone companies will be… the incumbent local cable companies, and every user’s friend, the content industry. That doesn’t seem to leave any industry forces pushing for competition, innovation, or user empowerment. To the contrary, it makes it easier to foresee regulatory and Congressional deals in which both sides work to keep users and new entrants at bay.