AT&T and its intended, DirecTV, gain D.C. clout via their contributions, fundraising, and lobbying expenditures. Another way their power is revealed is in just how much they make themselves known before the Federal Communications Commission. The answer: a lot.
Over the past year alone, AT&T’s representatives have met with FCC staff, whether in person or on phone, on 45 different matters, according to analysis of meeting data posted by the FCC. This dwarfs the profile of not just DirecTV but also Comcast and Time Warner, two other companies that have proposed a major merger. Among the policies that garnered the most attention are the FCC’s initiative to repurpose TV broadcast spectrum to mobile broadband and a petition by the company for permission to experiment with technology transitions.
These companies also deploy their experts to comment on federal regulations far flung from the FCC. For example: Here is AT&T before the Food and Drug Administration on wireless health care devices, and DirecTV to the Department of Energy on energy efficiency of set top boxes, as seen on Docket Wrench. In other words, these are companies that not only know how to pull all the levers of government but have ample resources to do so.
To glean more on these companies’ influence in Washington, check out the following links: