The Federal Communications Commission maintains close ties to the companies it regulates. A lot of money is spent to keep things friendly. At least that’s the thrust of a study published by the Center for Public Integrity – a detailed examination of the telecommunications industry.

At first glance, the numbers that leap out of the study’s findings?

  • The three largest local phone companies control 83 percent of home telephone lines.

  • The top two long distance carriers control 67 percent of that market.

  • The four biggest cellular phone companies have 64 percent of the wireless market.

  • The five largest cable companies pipe programming to 74 percent of the cable subscribers nationwide.

And as for that cozy relationship? According to CPI, “FCC officials have taken more than 2,500 trips paid for by companies and trade groups from the telecommunications and broadcasting industries, and the agency increasingly relies on industry-generated data to justify sweeping deregulation proposals.”

The report, called “Well-Connected,” is the first phase of a three-year investigation of the telecommunications industry by CPI. More details will be available in the June issue of Mobile Radio Technology magazine.