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Chamber: AT&T's BellSouth Acquisition Sign of New Reality

Monday, March 6, 2006 - 7:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The United States Chamber of Commerce today said AT&T's acquisition of BellSouth highlights the continuously changing playing field in telecommunications, and that U.S. companies are adjusting to an extremely competitive marketplace for the delivery of voice, data, and video services.

"The deal represents the business reality that technology has advanced much faster than the current rules can regulate," said William Kovacs, Chamber vice president for environment, technology, and regulatory affairs. "Rapid technology advancements have been accompanied by robust competition among companies that, just years ago, were not traditionally viewed as rivals. In fact, the last telecommunications law was enacted before the common use of the Internet and now the marketplace is forcing real time adjustments in order to ensure that the best technology is available to consumers."

Telecommunications is the central nervous system of the U.S. economy. Between 1995 and 2004, advances in telecommunications and information technology were responsible for as much as 75% of U.S. labor productivity gains. However, current laws have stifled investment in the industry and hindered the rollout of new products and services. By failing to keep pace with technologies being deployed in the rest of the world, the United States will suffer economic consequences as companies move jobs overseas and innovative technologies are invented elsewhere, according to the Chamber.

"The nation's telecommunications laws must be updated to promote economic development, provide national security, and guarantee global competitiveness," said Kovacs.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.

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