AT&T Offers More BellSouth Concessions

Re-born communications company AT&T has expanded the set of concessions (PDF) its willing to offer in exchange for being allowed to complete its acquisition of telecommunications player BellSouth.

AT&T and BellSouth entered into an acquisition agreement all the way back in March, 2006 for a total price of $67 billion; at the time, the merger was approved by the boards of both companies, but was expected to take up to a year to close. owing to needing approval from shareholders and regulatory agencies.

Although the U.S. Department of Justice approved the deal back in October, the Federal Communications Commission has twice cancelled plans to consider the acquisition due to a split amongst commissioners, some of whom are concerned the acquisition would reduce competition for communications services in the overall market. Competitors to both AT&T and BellSouth have lobbied the commission to block the deal.

To encourage the FCC to approve the merger, AT&T as preemptively expanded the set of concessions it’s willing to make. AT&T’s latest promises include a promise to maintain a “neutral network” which didn’t prioritize or downgrade service based on the “source, ownership, or destination” of the traffic crossing the network. The company also agreed to maintain the number of “settlement” Internet peering arrangements which exist on the date of the merger closing for a period of three years, meaning that telecommunications companies which peer with AT&T and BellSouth wouldn’t be in immediate danger of losing customers. AT&T also offered that if any of the ten largest peering partners shut down during the three year period, it would replace that peering arrangement with a similar agreement rather than taking over the service itself.

AT&T’s concessions are notable for echoing concerns over “net neutrality,” that telecommunications providers will provide top-flight service for partners and their own services, while letting others languish on increasingly burdened networks (or even deliberately downgrading competitors’ services.)

Update 29-Dec-2006: A day after AT&T filed its additional concessions, the FCC has approved the company’s merger with BellSouth (PDF).


5G is going to cost you a few bucks more, at least on Verizon

Verizon is in the midst of a massive 5G rollout. In addition to fixed 5G service, it will also begin deploying mobile 5G in the coming months. Here's everything you need to know about Verizon's 5G network and when it will be in your town.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.

Free yourself! How to unlock a phone from the icy hands of your wireless carrier

Do you want to know how to unlock a phone through your carrier or a third-party service like DoctorSIM? Regardless of which way you want to go, we've compiled a list of requirements and methods for doing so.

These 28 useful apps are absolutely essential for Mac lovers

There are literally hundreds of thousands of great software programs compatible with MacOS, but which should you download? Look no further than our list of the best Mac apps you can find.
Smart Home

Thermomix introduces a small appliance that can do it all

The Thermomix TM6 just might be what you're looking for. This all-in-one appliance can perform 20 unique tasks that will cut down on the work of meal preparation and will help you cook just about anything.
Smart Home

Amazon knocks down the price on the second-generation Echo smart speaker

Amazon just knocked down the price of the second-generation Echo smart speaker with Alexa by 25 percent. The Echo can answer questions, control smart home devices, fill a room with music with its Dolby speakers, and make hands-free calls.
Smart Home

Whatever happened to those dumb smart products we wrote about in 2017?

A smart salt dispenser? As manufacturers rush to get the next new smart item out there, we wonder if all these new inventions are really necessary. Here’s a list of 10 of the quirkiest home smart gadgets available, and where they are now.
Smart Home

Smeg Dolce and Gabbana small appliances make an art gallery of your kitchen

Spice up your kitchen with Smeg's Dolce and Gabbana-styled Sicily Is My Love collection. Following its introduction of Sicilian-themed major appliances, the Italian collaborators added countertop devices with traditional icons and images.
Smart Home

Sign up for Amazon’s Prime Book Box and get an Echo Dot Kids Edition for $1

Do your kids like books? Sign up for Amazon's Prime Book Box for kids through March 26 and you can get an Echo Dot Kids Edition for just $0.99. The Prime Book Box includes two to four books, delivered every one, two, or three months.
Smart Home

Ikea isn’t throwing shade with the delayed release of its smart blinds

Ikea planned to release is Tradfri-compatible smart blinds in April 2019, but the products have been delayed until later in the year for a firmware update that promises better functionality.
Smart Home

Lutron’s Fan Control makes ceiling fans smart, but has some turnoffs

Lutron recently came out with a smart switch that controls ceiling fans, the Lutron Caseta Fan Speed Control Switch. How does it stack up? Here's a first-hand review of the Lutron Fan Control switch.

Amazon and Kia team up to simplify EV home-charging station installs

Kia Motors announced a new program with Amazon for electric vehicles. Customers planning to purchase a new Kia EV or PHEV can check out recommended Level 2 240-volt home charging stations and arrange installation in their homes.
Smart Home

Traeger’s latest wood-pellet grills are smoky, smart, and spacious

Traeger is famous in the world of barbecue and heavy-duty grills for its signature pellet grills and now the company is expanding this year by adding three new brands of redesigned
Smart Home

The five best teeth-whitening kits you can buy on Amazon

Teeth whitening can have a major impact on a person’s smile and overall appearance. You don't necessarily have to go to the dentist to get your teeth whitened though. Here are the best teeth-whitening kits you can buy.