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Federal Communications Commission
1919 - M Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

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).

August 21, 1997


The merger between MCI and BT will enhance competition for American consumers.

BT and MCI made important commitments to lower the US-UK settlement rate to just about the lowest rate in the world, release key capacity on transatlantic undersea cables, and abide by the United Kingdom's implementation of the European Union's directives on equal access. All these will further competition on the US-UK route, which is already the world's most open and competitive international route.

We have applied the same scrutiny of this merger that we did in the merger between Bell Atlantic and Nynex. We make clear that, whether or not a foreign-owned carrier is involved in a merger, we will require the merging parties to demonstrate that the merger will enhance competition.

Consumers in the United States are already benefitting significantly from our efforts to make the US-UK and other international routes more open and competitive. The settlement rate that BT will now charge US carriers to terminate their traffic in the UK is down to only 1/3 of what it was just three years ago. As a result, consumers are paying as little as 10-12 cents a minute for calls from the US to UK. In short, the deal and the commitments by the companies will help explode the myth that international calls should be any more expensive than domestic calls. We are driving a sharp nail into the coffin of distance.