Dealing a significant blow to consumers by placing "unprecedented power in the hands of a single, massive media-telecom behemoth," a federal judge on Tuesday approved the widely denounced $85 billion merger between AT&T and Time Warner—a move that consumer advocates said paves the way for even further corporate concentration.
"With the recent repeal of net neutrality, AT&T now has the ability to block or throttle any online content that competes with Time Warner programming," Michael Copps, former FCC commissioner and special adviser with Common Cause, said in a statement reacting to the judge's ruling. "The decision to approve the AT&T/Time Warner merger further entrenches AT&T as a media gatekeeper that harms the public interest and opens the door for more media consolidation in the future."
Head to https://t.co/xSJHbL8rxN to call Congress and demand net neutrality ASAP!
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— Fight for the Future (@fightfortheftr) June 12, 2018
"Common sense tells you that this degree of concentrated power isn't right," wrote Zephyr Teachout, a candidate for attorney general of New York, wrote immediately following the judge's ruling. "These giant mergers tend to hurt workers and democracy, not just prices—they lessen the control of the little guy."
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who recently announced he's running for attorney general of Minnesota, argued the Trump administration—which has expressed opposition to the merger, albeit with questionable motives—must "appeal this misguided decision, and continue to fight similar mergers."
In a statement responding to the judge's ruling on Tuesday, the Justice Department—which could appeal the decision—said it was "disappointed" and will "closely review" the opinion.