Seeking to win approval for its $86 billion buyout of BellSouth Corp., telecommunications giant AT&T Inc. has agreed to several concessions that have important implications for schools and other consumers.

Among these concessions is a pledge to offer broadband service wherever the new AT&T is the local telephone company, which could speed up the availability of broadband service to rural homes in some 22 states. Perhaps more importantly, AT&T has promised to abide by "net neutrality"-that is, the company will not favor internet content providers who pay it more money-for at least 30 months.

Supporters of net neutrality rules, which...

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