Feeds

DoJ probes reviews US telecom powers

Anti-competitive practices?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has begun looking into whether US telecom giants are abusing their growing market powers.

According to a report published Monday by The Wall Street Journal, the inquiry is merely a preliminary review, falling short of a full-fledged investigation into anti-competitive practices.

The review comes on the heels of two other recent US government actions. Last month, the head of the US Federal Communications Commission instructed his troops to "open a proceeding to closely examine wireless handset exclusivity arrangements that have reportedly become more prevalent in recent years." The day after that inquiry was announced, a hearing was held by a US Senate committee, sparked by a letter from a quartet of US senators, to gather testimony on exclusivity deals.

Whether the new DoJ review is promoted to the status of an investigation or not, its mere existence indicates that Obama & Co. are more interested in keeping an eye on industry consolidation than were the previous occupants of the White House.

During the Bush administration, there was significant consolidation in the telecom industry. In 2005 alone, for example, Sprint acquired Nextel, Verizon gobbled up MCI, and SBC bought AT&T. That administration, however, initiated no major antitrust actions during its eight-year tenure.

But there's a new sheriff in town. The DoJ's antitrust chief, Christine Varney, made the Obama administration's intentions crystal clear in a May speech at the Center for American Progress. Citing "inadequate antitrust oversight" as a contributing factor to the global economic Meltdown, Varney said that "As antitrust enforcers, we cannot sit on the sidelines any longer."

According to the WSJ, the DoJ may be looking not only into exclusivity deals, but also whether telecoms are "unduly restricting the types of services other companies can offer on their networks," such as AT&T's allowing Major League Baseball to stream video over its service, but not Sling Media.

And so with pressure now coming from both the Executive and Congressional branches of the US government, it appears that the window of laissez-faire liberties may be slamming shut for the telecom industry.

At minimum, the days of unexamined mergers and acquisitions appear to be drawing to a close. And also in the government regulators' sights may very well be the atmosphere of freewheeling, unregulated - and possibly anti-competitive - business practices. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
BT said to have pulled patent-infringing boxes from DSL network
Take your license demand and stick it in your ASSIA
Right to be forgotten should apply to Google.com too: EU
And hey - no need to tell the website you've de-listed. That'll make it easier ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.