U.S. Union Urges FCC to Block Worldcom-MCI Merger

A U.S. labour union, the Communication Workers of America (CWA), has filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), asking it to block Worldcom Inc.'s proposed merger with MCI Communications Corp. -- claiming the new company would wield too much power over the Internet.

A U.S. labour union, the Communication Workers of America (CWA), has filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), asking it to block Worldcom Inc.'s proposed merger with MCI Communications Corp. -- claiming the new company would wield too much power over the Internet.

If MCI merges with Worldcom the former competitors would together own more than 63 percent of the Internet backbone, giving the new company too large a say over Internet access and pricing, the CWA statement said. The union pointed out that the merged company -- which would own some of the market's largest Internet service providers (ISPs) -- would have the potential to discriminate against other ISP's by offering its own subsidiaries more favoravble interconnection deals.

The CWA, which has 650,000 members, also claimed the merged company's pursuit of corporate customers could translate into the stifling of MCI's planned US$1.5 billion investment in local networks. The union fears this, in turn, will fetter the growth of an estimated 75,000 jobs within the U.S. telecommunications industry.

WorldCom, which has been predicting that the FCC will approved its bid for MCI in the first quarter of 1998, was unavailable for comment. The European Union is also evaluating the planned merger.

The CWA Communications department can be reached in Washington, D.C., at +1-202-434-1168.

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