Too Much of a Good Thing
The Rat’s Nest in Telecom
Rather than deprive consumers of potential options, the thinking
goes, mega-mergers can create companies powerful enough to
invade one another’s markets and bring competition to the
masses. No one is arguing this case louder than Bernard J.
Ebbers, the Chairman of WorldCom.
Thirty years ago, few sectors were more criticized for inertia than telecommunications, organized around AT&T’s monopoly. Yet, telecom became the vanguard New Economy sector before the term “dot-com” (or for that matter, “New Economy”) had caught on. Telcom became hot early on as various interests mobilized to influence and exploit deregulation. Explosive growth in the sector after the 1996 Telecommunications Act helped fuel the long expansion of the 1990s;