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Megamerger of AT&T & MediaOne Oked

The FCC and Department of Justice have given the go ahead for AT&T to merge with MediaOne making the combined company the largest cable firm in the nation. One stipulation on the US$58 billion deals approval is that the company seal off its holdings in Road Runner, a high-speed Internet access service. The FCC also said that either AT&T has to sell its stake in Time Warner Entertainment, divest programming assets like Liberty Media or unload various cable systems within the next year. AT&T has six months to decided which of the three courses of action it will take. However, the new communication behemoth already has plans for local telephone and Internet access. "This merger will mean a real choice and lower prices in local phone service, faster Internet access and better cable TV," boasted AT&T chairman-CEO Michael Armstrong, "For consumers, thats a home run in any ballpark." However, consumer groups are skeptical, especially when Time Warner recently used its cable leverage to pull ABC away from viewers across the country. Once the new merger is finalized and one of the three aforementioned assets are sold off, AT&T will own just under 30% of cable services in the U.S., which is just under the 30% cap set by the FCC.

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Rick DeMott
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