Telecommunications mergers are at once a historical mirror and a harbinger of the legal future. Since the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, no significant telecommunications merger has failed to receive regulatory approval in the United States.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 has accelerated the trend toward consolidation and concentration. Having devoted most of its energy on issues doomed to become technologically and economically obsolete, the Act failed to anticipate the technological conditions (especially the emergence of the Internet) that drove telecommunications carriers to consolidate. Nevertheless, possible avenues for reform remain open should the federal government ever conclude that the anticompetitive potential of telecommunications mergers outweighs their salutary effects.