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Federal Communications Commission
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This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

February 17, 1999

Press Statement of Commissioner Susan Ness

Re: In the Matter of Applications for Consent to the Transfer of Control of Licenses and Section 214 Authorizations from Tele-Communications, Inc. to AT&T Corp.

The merger we approve today promises to give many Americans their first opportunity to have a meaningful choice for local telephone service. Since passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, we have seen a number of developments, including mergers and strategic alliances, that have enhanced competition in telecommunications markets primarily devoted to business customers. This is the first major merger that seems driven by the prospect of enhancing competitive choices to residential customers.

In addition, the broadband services that are to be deployed by AT&T/TCI may prod local exchange carriers to accelerate their offering of high speed broadband services to residential customers. Greater competition among broadband services should help alleviate concerns about vertical integration and "bundling" of proprietary information with Internet access.

Having closely examined the arguments raised for and against this merger, I expect that this marriage of titans will bring average Americans new choices, lower prices, and better customer service.