US official advises regulators to delay AT&T vote

John Dingell, the incoming chairman of the US House Energy and Commerce Committee, wants the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to delay its vote on AT&T's acquisition of BellSouth, an Associated Press report said.


The Associated Press report quoted Dingell as saying that the combination raises a 'significant antitrust question.


The official sent a letter to the FCC asking that it hold off on the vote until after the new Congress convenes in January, the report also said.


FCC chairman Kevin Martin has delayed a vote on the merger three times as he negotiates with the two Democrats on the commission over what conditions should be placed on the deal. It has not been rescheduled since the last postponement earlier this month.


The Michigan Democrat said he has been 'very helpful over the years to the different telecom companies,' including the former Bells. 'But I remind you our duty here is not just to the Bells, our duty is to come forward with good public policy and to see the public interest is respected.'


The FCC had no comment.


AT&T's acquisition of BellSouth, now valued at $82.9 billion, is being called the largest telecommunications merger.