Feeds

DoJ probes reviews US telecom powers

Anti-competitive practices?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Big Content outs piracy hotbeds: São Paulo, Beijing ... TORONTO?
MPAA calls Canadians a bunch of bootlegging movie thieves
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
Hungary's internet tax cannot be allowed to set a precedent, says EC
More protests planned against giga-tariff for Tuesday evening
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.