Mergers won't prevent competition
I read with interest the Opinion page article ``Merger Frenzy Is Consumers' Loss,'' Nov. 22, and believe you should have another opinion to balance what the authors had to say about the proposed merger between Bell Atlantic and TCI. They see the negative: the possible abuse in the power to be brought to bear on studios and production companies. But they fail to recognize the benefits that consumers would reap through such mergers.
One possible benefit is distribution systems, especially to homes and small businesses, which would be less expensive than continuing with both the telephone company wires and the cable companies' fiber or coaxial. The company resulting from a merger would have management competence to bring both switched services (such as phone companies now offer) along with entertainment and information (now the forte of cable companies). The resulting strong companies would be able to quickly embrace new but expensive fast-moving technological advances better than many smaller but financially weaker companies could.
The cable and wire companies are already getting competition through new technology that is bringing wireless communications for entertainment, two-way conversations, the movement of data from home to the bank, and retail video shopping. So, there would be substantial competition from which the consumer could choose. With hundreds of channels of entertainment becoming available in our homes, I can't imagine a shortage of opportunities for studios and producers.
I would hope that the information made available to Congress as it considers repealing the laws that prevent telephone companies from joining cable firms, and to those bodies who regulate their activities (such as the Federal Communications Commission) would include not just the possible abuses of such mergers, but the real benefits that can accrue as well. Bob Brown, Mill Valley, Calif.
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