The $20 billion planned merger between BT and MCI could be delayed if a US government review of satellite television laws restricts MCI's ability to offer broadcast services.
The latest hurdle in the path of the merger came as the Clinton administration ordered a review of whether foreign companies should be allowed to operate satellite television services in the US.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) awarded MCI a licence to offer direct satellite broadcast services, before its merger with BT was announced. Now the State Department, Commerce Department and the Office of Trade Representatives has urged this licence be looked at again. The US restricts foreign ownership of the country?s broadcast or telecomms services.
An MCI spokesperson said: ?It?s quite reasonable that the executive branch would want to examine the foreign ownership of direct broadcast satellite.? However, the company did not believe the review would delay its merger with BT.
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