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Telecom Mergers Stomp on Competition

Either way, it looks like a former Bell company will soon be in possession of MCI, which isn't good news for customers. Both Qwest and Verizon aim to create an organization that will provide local, long-distance and IP services under a single banner. Both companies want to convince users and industry experts they can play all these tunes equally well, and that the merger will improve competition by challenging SBC-AT&T.

Network managers, wake up. Since deregulation, SBC and its fellow behemoths have squashed the life out of dozens of small, promising service providers developing innovative, low-cost services. Now Verizon, Qwest and SBC want to eliminate the top two players in one of the industry's most competitive segments, business long-distance.

The convergence of voice, data and video was supposed to give enterprises more service options, while deregulation would have increased competition. But the opposite has occurred, and enterprises are now perilously close to being stuck with slow, noninnovative monopoly telecom services again.