Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 25th 2015 Contents A17
Saturday, July 25, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
NEW YORK---AT&T s US$48.5 billion
purchase of DirecTV is set to close after
winning approval Friday from the Fed-
eral Communications Commission.
The Justice Department had already
cleared the deal, which will create the
largest provider of cable or satellite TV
in the US, with 26.4 million cable and
satellite TV subscribers.
That s more than Comcast as well as
a bigger Charter, which is seeking gov-
ernment approval to buy Time Warner
Suppliers of TV are buying one another
as video from Internet competitors like
Netflix gets more popular and costs rise
Adding TV customers gives AT&T more
power to negotiate with big media com-
panies over prices for those channels.
The deal also combines a nationwide
satellite TV service, the country s largest,
with the No 2 nationwide wireless net-
work as time spent on mobile devices
increases. DirecTV also has 19.5 million
customers in Latin America, where AT&T
wants to grow.
AT&T s purchase of DirecTV was
approved even as Comcast s bid for Time
Warner Cable, which would have made
the country s biggest cable company even
more massive, was blocked.
The AT&T deal did not trigger the same
fears from consumer advocates because
the company wouldn t contain an enter-
tainment division like Comcast s NBCU-
niversal and wouldn t gain Internet cus-
tomers, considered the future of the
industry, by buying DirecTV.
The FCC repeated yesterday that it had
set certain requirements for the merger,
which it had disclosed on Tuesday when
the head of the agency announced his
support for the deal.
Among these are that AT&T has to
expand a fiber network that can handle
fast Internet speeds to 12.5 million possible
customers, which it says compensates
for the loss of a video option in markets
where AT&T s U-verse cable service had
competed with DirecTV s satellite TV
The agency said the fiber network
requirement will help Internet video com-
petitors reach customers.
Another way the agency wants to try
to promote video competition is by for-
bidding AT&T to make a potential online
video service of its own not eat up data
under the cap imposed by the company
on its home Internet customers.
If AT&T did that, it could make its
own service more appealing compared
with Netflix, for example, because
streaming Netflix would count toward
the data cap and potentially could trigger
additional fees if a customer went over
AT&T also has to offer "low-price"
home Internet to low-income customers
without making them buy phone or TV
The FCC said there will be an inde-
pendent compliance officer to monitor
how AT&T abides by these conditions.
This file combo made from file photos shows the AT&T logo on the side of a corporate office in Springfield, Illinois, left, and a DirecTV
satellite dish atop a home in Los Angeles. AT&T's US$48.5 billion purchase of DirecTV is set to close after winning clearance from the
Federal Communications Commission, according to reports yesterday. AP PHOTO
bond to repay
Jamaica sold US$2 billion in bonds to
help pay down debt owed to Petroleos de
Venezuela SA (PDVSA) under the Petro-
The Caribbean nation sold US$1.35 billion
in bonds due 2028 to yield 6.75 per cent
and $650 million of notes due 2045 to yield
7.875 per cent, according to a person familiar
with the matter, who isn t authorized to
speak publicly and asked not to be iden-
Jamaica said in a filing Thursday that it
plans to spend US$1.5 billion of the proceeds
to pay down debt owed to state-owned
PDVSA with the Associated Press reporting
that the debt swap would eliminate US$3
billion of debt to Venezuela.
It was not immediately clear Friday if
Jamaica s deal will retire all of its Petrocaribe
Demands on Venezuelan President Nicolas
Maduro s cash-strapped government have
peaked with the collapse in oil prices,
spurring the nation to reach agreements
with its Caribbean allies that have accu-
mulated debt under preferential financing
A deal on the Petrocaribe obligations
"would constitute an important influx of
cash" at a time when the Venezuelan gov-
ernment s resources are diminishing, Risa
Grais-Targow, an analyst at Eurasia Group,
wrote in a July 20 report.
The sale comes about half a year after
the Dominican Republic struck a deal to
pay US$1.9 billion for nearly all of the US$4.1
billion it owed PDVSA. Jamaica s total debt
under the program is about US$3 billion,
according to Eurasia.
Since the Petrocaribe programme was
conceived in 2005 by then President Hugo
Chavez, Venezuela has sold more than US$28
billion of oil to nations across the Caribbean
and Central America.
The AP news wire described Petrocaribe
as a Venezuelan programme that provides
fuel to countries at market prices but under
generous credit terms.
The countries pay for only a portion of
the bill upfront and finance the remainder
at 1 per cent or 2 per cent over 25 years.
Jamaica s credit was raised by two rating
companies in the past two months. Standard
& Poor s lifted Jamaica to B from B-in June,
saying the Caribbean island is making
progress in lowering debt levels that remain
among the world s highest. Moody s
Investors Service raised its grade by one
level on May 28, saying the government s
commitment to fiscal reform should help
fuel economic growth in the next two to
Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc.
are managing the sale. Jamaica last tapped
global markets in July 2014, selling US$800
million of ten-year notes.
The remaining proceeds of the sale will
be used for general budgetary financing.
AT&T's purchase of DirecTV
was approved even as
Comcast's bid for Time
Warner Cable, which would
have made the country's
biggest cable company even
more massive, was blocked.
AT&T-DirecTV deal set to
close after FCC approval
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