PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP isn’t known for consistency. He has even occasionally waffled on immigration, his signature issue. This tendency has been on display in recent weeks, as two federal agencies made starkly different moves on telecom policy.
First, the Department of Justice sued to block AT&T’s proposed $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner. The next day, the Federal Communications Commission unveiled a proposal to loosen the limits on the number of television and radio stations a broadcast company can own, the latest in a series of moves that pave the way for Sinclair Broadcasting’s proposed $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Company. The same week, the FCC unveiled its plan to overturn net-neutrality rules that ban broadband providers, including AT&T, from blocking or discriminating against legal content.
In other words, even as one government agency looks to constrain the growth of AT&T, the nation’s largest pay-TV company and one of its largest internet providers, another is working to unshackle broadcast and telecom companies from rules its staff says are burdensome.
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