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FTC divided on process

While the other three commissioners at the Federal Trade Commission agreed
that the process by which mergers are divided between the federal government's
two antitrust bodies needs to be streamlined, the commission's Democrats were
decidedly less happy to have been kept out of the negotiations than the

Democrat Sheila Anthony is concerned about giving all authority over media
and telecommunications to the Department of Justice, while Republicans Orson
Swindle and Thomas Leary said they are 'not troubled by the process by which the
agreement was fashioned.'

'Broadband Internet access and the technologies and content associated with
it are likely to become a growth engine for the U.S. economy over the next
several years,' Anthony wrote.

'These `digital-age' technologies raise challenging and often novel antitrust
issues. American consumers may well have been better served if
cable/media/entertainment matters had received the same treatment.'

The deal -- crafted by FTC chairman Timothy Muris and Charles James,
assistant attorney general for antitrust -- failed at the last minute Thursday
after Senate Commerce Committee chairman Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.) complained that
no one had informed him of the proposed changes.

Democratic FTC commissioner Mozelle Thompson also said Thursday that he
wished he had been consulted.