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FCC to discuss telecom mergers

The Federal Communications Commission will hold a meeting to discuss recent consolidation activities in the telecommunications industry.

The Federal Communications Commission will hold a meeting today to discuss recent consolidation activities in the telecommunications industry.

The meeting will focus on the proposed mergers between SBC Communications and Ameritech; AT&T and Tele-Communications Incorporated; and Bell Atlantic and GTE.

The FCC is holding these meetings to assist the commission in determining whether these mergers are consistent with the goals of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The goals of the act include promoting competition in telecommunications markets and protecting the public interest.

Today, the companies hoping to have their mergers approved will discuss the details of their merger plans.

The speakers will include Bell Atlantic president and CEO Ivan Seidenberg; GTE chairman and CEO Charles Lee; SBC chairman and CEO Edward Whitacre; Ameritec chairman and CEO Richard Notebaert; TCI president, Leo Hindery; and AT&T chairman and CEO Michael Armstrong.

AT&T expects to close its acquisition of TCI in the first half of next year, the telco giant disclosed in a regulatory filing today with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Nonetheless, it has to face the several regulatory hurdles first.

At a second meeting, scheduled for a later date, other interested parties will discuss the proposed mergers' impact on telecommunications markets. Just last month, the FCC cleared WorldCom's acquisition of MCI Communications.

In authorizing the transfer of communications licenses and other authorizations associated with the deal, the FCC said it had found that the merger would produce tangible benefits to consumers and was in the public interest.

Both meetings are open to the public.