Cisco to FCC: Hurry Up!

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) today filed a letter with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asking it to hurry up and approve the merger of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS).

Cisco, in its first comment to the FCC on the subject, says that the delay is hurting equipment manufacturers.

"Cisco believes that the lack of a decision by the commission in this matter has adversely affected broadband network investment by both applicants and their Cingular joint venture," writes Cisco director of technology and trade policy Jeffery Campbell. (See Analyst: AT&T Capex Spend Slowing.)

"Changes in network investment caused by regulatory uncertainty or delays in regulatory decision making have impacted the network and telecommunications equipment industry in the past and are currently having an impact," Campbell writes. (See Is Lightspeed Slowing?) "Further delays in this matter will only continue the problem, which requires prompt action."

AT&T and BellSouth first filed for merger approval in September. The FCC has delayed the vote several times since. (See AT&T Rages at FCC Delay and McDowell May Vote on AT&T-BellSouth Merger.)

The delay is being caused by a standoff between, on the one side, Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, who have concerns about the anti-competitive impact of the merger, and pro-merger Chairman Kevin Martin and Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate.

The FCC meets next on December 20. Sources say pressure is mounting in Washington for the FCC to vote on the merger that day. — Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

Mark Sullivan 12/5/2012 | 3:32:50 AM
re: Cisco to FCC: Hurry Up! Looks like Cisco might get its way soon. FCC general counsel Friday cleared Commissioner Robert McDowell to vote on the proposed merger of AT&T and BellSouth. We predict McDowell will decide to vote, and the merger will be approved on Dec. 20.
lightingrod 12/5/2012 | 3:32:48 AM
re: Cisco to FCC: Hurry Up! Boo hoo for Cisco. We should all feel sorry for them, if this merger delays any more they might go out of buisness.

It's smaller vendors that get hurt not the Cisco's

materialgirl 12/5/2012 | 3:32:46 AM
re: Cisco to FCC: Hurry Up! How typical. Lets hurry up into a fiasco (re-monopolization and Lightspeed) instead of waiting a minute to figure out if what we are rushing into makes any sense.
everythingip 12/5/2012 | 3:32:45 AM
re: Cisco to FCC: Hurry Up! let Cisco handle the politics, small vendors can't afford it
ethertype 12/5/2012 | 3:32:44 AM
re: Cisco to FCC: Hurry Up! "Re-monopolization"? I don't think so. This merger may be stupid, but it has virtually no anti-competitive aspect to it.

If materialgirl remembered a few facts, she (he?) might choose words more carefully:
1. ILECs already got 271 relief, so the merger doesn't make it any easier to bundle local+LD services.
2. BellSouth's enterprise business is dying. They barely compete with AT&T on larger business accounts today. Verizon, EDS, IBM Global Svcs and a host of niche players are the real competitors in this space.
3. There is approximately zero overlap in their consumer access footprint, so they don't compete for consumer services. Rather, they're both running scared from the cable MSOs (with good reason).
4. They already co-own Cingular and wireless competition is pretty robust, so no change there.

SBC-AT&T and Verizon-MCI did way more to reduce competition than AT&T-BLS. Why change the rules all of a sudden?

sjd6 12/5/2012 | 3:32:43 AM
re: Cisco to FCC: Hurry Up! FCC to Cisco: Keep you nose out of our business!
materialgirl 12/5/2012 | 3:32:42 AM
re: Cisco to FCC: Hurry Up! Dear Ethertype:
I believe that ATT management is playing a multi-stage game. At this point their goal is to become "too big to fail". Once this is accomplished, they will move forward to Ed Whitacre's often repeated goal of closing their network off to "competitors". Look what the rural ILECs have already tried to do to Sprint. If you think ATT plans to keep "their" network an open "common carrier", I say you are "nuts" (All Whitacre's terms).
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