The Fcc Has The Right Merger Policy
"Is the FCC chief all talk?" (News: Analysis & Commentary, Oct. 25) is blind to the reality of the new marketplace. The writer ignores the dramatic impact of convergence, which is accelerating cross-industry competition and new services.
My job is to make sure no merger creates a conglomerate so large and so dominant that it kills this vibrant restructuring or harms the public interest. At the same time, I must ensure that any merger approved by the Federal Communications Commission will open up markets to competitors, foster innovation, and benefit consumers. Every merger approved during my tenure has included tough conditions to open markets and to keep them open.
In the most recent transaction, the SBC-Ameritech merger agreement included conditions that should dramatically increase competition in local telephone markets and expedite the deployment of high-speed Internet access and other new services to low-income and rural areas. Indeed, SBC has pledged to spend $6 billion to roll out broadband services to 70 million customers in 30 new markets and in a subsidiary structured to promote competition, as required by the FCC.
To be sure, there are mergers that may not be good for consumers and competitors. We will continue to scrutinize these transactions carefully and make sure that competition, not monopolies or duopolies, dominates the telecommunications markets.
FCC policy in reviewing these transactions is the correct policy for a world of new technologies and convergence, where the primary objective is to protect consumer choice. Be assured, we will be vigilant not to allow our hard-fought gains for competition to be lost.
William E. Kennard