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Nader targets WorldCom-MCI deal

More opposition to the proposed merger surfaces, from the consumer leader and the Communications Workers of America.

More opposition to the proposed merger of WorldCom (WCOM) and MCI (MCIC) surfaced today, this time from consumer activist Ralph Nader and the Communications Workers of America.

The consumer activist and the union argued that the combination would "wield monopoly control over essential Internet backbone services." Their opposition comes during the same week that two state attorneys generals, from Virginia and South Carolina, made similar arguments. WorldCom and MCI are among the largest backbone providers in the country. Their merger intentions already are under review by the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission.

"The Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice need to stop this merger cold, so consumers can benefit from competition, rather than suffer unnecessarily from monopoly," Nader said in a statement. He also expressed concern that the companies will impose usage-based pricing on backbone services, giving them the clout to eliminate small Internet service providers.

MCI and WorldCom deny that their combination is anticompetitive, and have said that they remain optimistic that it will win regulatory approval by midyear. Shareholders of each company approved the deal this week.

Nader and CWA president Morton Bahr spoke today at a symposium dubbed "WorldCom/MCI merger: Is the Internet at Risk?" The forum also included speeches by Internet experts, software creators, and ISPs.