CEO of Dish Network Corporation, Charlie Ergen, recently said that a Donald Trump administration is capable of bringing “a lot of potential positives for business,” which include reduced tax burdens on corporations and infrastructure spending. He was speaking on Dish Network’s Q3 earnings call after Mr. Trump’s election to Presidency. Ergen said that the ascendance of the businessman could invite a “more rational” tax code that can incentivize businesses to bring back “billions of dollars” that they have housed offshore to avoid the taxes.
“We think there are some positives there,” Dish CEO said, noting that the companies would be able to invest more in the American infrastructure and industry. He also added that lighter regulation and immigration reforms in the new administration are capable of bringing more economic growth to the nation.
Ergen also indicated that the President is likely to look kindly on the desire of Dish Network to advance into offering wireless service to their users. He added that there could be bipartisan support to promote investments in infrastructure and noted that the rural America does not have internet connectivity as the cities and expects “real” initiatives there. “This is an election of haves and have-nots, and the have-nots voted for Donald Trump,” Ergen said.
However, there can be issues for Dish Network as Mr. Trump has made some statements against the utility-style “net neutrality” rules that were supported by the Obama government. Under a GOP-controlled Congress and Trump administration, “you may see net neutrality be challenged or weakened going forward,” Ergen noted. Moreover, a rollback of the rule will be appreciated by cable and telecom companies, but could be opposed by streaming services.
In addition to that, Ergen said that one of the main concerns of Dish Network about the AT&T-Time Warner merger is the plan of AT&T to exempt their DirecTV Now service from wireless data caps, while asking the other streaming services to pay for the privilege. This approach is called zero-rating. “We think that’s a violation of where net neutrality is today,” Ergen said.
AT&T executives said that their zero-rating practices treat all the streaming services in the equal manner, as DirecTV Now would pay AT&T to waive data caps for its users. Ergen added, “In general, Republican leadership, whether it’s been in Congress or the executive branch, will have a lighter hand to regulation. I think there is going to be more flexibility in M&A transactions.”