The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has confirmed it is investigating the undersea cable industry, which includes a number of the globe's largest telecommunications companies, for possible antitrust violations.
"The antitrust division (of the DOJ) is looking at the possibility of anti-competitive practices in the international underseas cable industry," DOJ spokeswoman Gina Talamona said yesterday. "I can't say more because it's an ongoing investigation."
The investigation first was reported by the Wall Street Journal, which said that the investigation is focused on a consortium of more than 30 companies working together to build a US$1.2 billion undersea cable between the U.S. and Japan. Companies in both countries are involved in the undertaking.
The Journal speculated that if the companies are found to be violating antitrust laws, there could be changes in how companies sell voice and data-transmission services -- key to Internet growth. Various high-profile undersea cable projects are currently underway as a result of Internet growth.
Companies in the consortium include AT&T, Sprint, Level 3 Communications and MCI WorldCom.