The telecommunications industry, a critical and expanding sector of the U.S.economy, has produced half of the 10 largest mergers in history, and moremajor combinations seem inevitable. One result has been increased attentionto the process by which the Federal Communications Commission and theDepartment of Justice review telecommunications mergers.

There is increasing sentiment among lawyers, business people, and evengovernment officials themselves that the system is broken, or at least thatit could be substantially improved. Two FCC commissioners have publiclycriticized their agency’s review process, and at least two bills have beenintroduced in Congress to curtail the process. However, no consensus hasemerged about how to make things work better. The current system does indeedsuffer from problems, but the responsible agencies could take a fewrelatively simple steps to correct at least some of them.