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New AT&T Acquires BellSouth 406

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the ma-bell-is-back dept.
spune writes "Only months after SBC's acquisition of AT&T last November, the newly rechristened telecom has announced that it plans to buy fellow Baby Bell BellSouth Inc, of Atlanta, Georgia for $67 billion. This action by AT&T will consolidate more than half of the original Bell System into a single entity, leaving only Verizon and Qwest as remaining Bell family competitors. Analysts predict this deal will be approved by the FCC with only minor restrictions on the new company, which will serve residences and businesses from California to Florida."
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New AT&T Acquires BellSouth

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  • by Spazntwich (208070) on Sunday March 05, 2006 @09:36PM (#14855533)
    "AT&T puts into motion plans to acquire Bellsouth."

    Hurray for fucking retard editors who can't be bothered to check headlines for accuracy.
    • I'm sorry, but I fail to see what exactly you're talking about? Is there really that much of a diffrence?
      • by Spazntwich (208070) on Sunday March 05, 2006 @09:50PM (#14855592)
        Well, in English, we have certain things called "tenses."

        Tense is generally used to indicate a timeframe relative to the present when something happened, is happening, or will happen.

        Notice how in the article, they state that AT&T is planning on acquiring Bellsouth. If you read further, you'll notice other sources say the FCC approval process could easily take around a year.

        Because, if this is going to happen, it will be happening in about a year, saying "AT&T acquires Bellsouth" creates a tense error, and if you want to really get technical, yes, it is a fairly big deal especially if you consider how significant the error is.
  • by DaveInAustin (549058) on Sunday March 05, 2006 @09:38PM (#14855540) Homepage
    Of the original breakup anyway? The baby bells are buying each other and Ma bell.
    • by incast (121639) * on Sunday March 05, 2006 @09:45PM (#14855566)
      Things have changed quite a bit in the 26 years since the breakup. Back then, you either paid Bell's rate or didn't have a phone. Now there are much better substitutes (cellular, VOIP, etc.) and the potential for international competition which should serve to keep a cap on the amount of market power that monopolistic firms can exercise here.
      • Cellular: The big providers (including AT&T via Cingular now) have a big chunk of that market, you're down to few competitors now (Cingular, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and that's about it if you live in California). VOIP: AT&T Started a service as well to enter there called AT&T CallVantage, it may be a more level playing field at the moment (Vonage, Skype, amongst many others), but it probably won't stay that way. Remember, for the most part VOIP is still going through AT&T owned hardware
        • by incast (121639) * on Sunday March 05, 2006 @09:57PM (#14855628)
          The prevailing thought in the anti-trust/economics literature is that consolidation is generally regarded as a good thing in cellular..

          Basically, there are massive density economies in delivering cellular service (e.g. it's better to use a higher percentage of the capacity of one expensive tower vs. having four separate expensive towers running at lower utilization rates), and as such, there are efficiency gains that can come out of such mergers. We're more likely to see continuing consolidation in national cellular markets with a much bigger space for international competition. The companies want to move forward with consolidation, and the anti-trust authorities aren't really standing in their way.

          In the US, the anti-trust people really only care about post-merger consumer prices (rather than the increased profitability of the merged entity). The degree of substitutable goods and the nature of price competition in cellular markets seems to keep downward pressure on rates. This is why they are letting all this go through.

          As for VOIP (and the greater economy), you only need two firms to get good competitive results from these types of goods. Landline phones and VOIP are essentially homogenous products, and as such, it's perfectly logical to assume that people will go with the firm that offers them the best price/quality ratio. Outside of collusion, odds are good that you will see competition putting downward pressure on prices in landline telephony even if both landlines and VOIP are delivered by monopolies.
          • Except VOIP depends on internet service, which is provided by the phone company competing with that VOIP...
          • This is true and is an excellent illustration in how vertical integration is the real enemy of free markets. For the cellular market this means that one company should own the towers and lease antenna space; other companies place antennae on the towers and lease connectivity to carriers, and then cell companies lease bandwidth from the carriers.
            When a company begins to own more than one component of the system, free markets go bye-bye.
            Something similar is occurring right now in the midwest with livestock
            • But vertical disintegration leads to double marginalization if there is market power on different layers... e.g. the tower owners get a markup on their leases to the cellular companies and then the cellular companies further mark up their costs. If the cellular companies own the towers, there is the potential (emphasis on potential:) for markups in the total delivery for cellular service to be lower. There are definitely areas where vertical restraints/competition across different layers of production are
          • by ciroknight (601098) on Sunday March 05, 2006 @10:41PM (#14855753)
            While you make an elegant argument, you forget that AT&T will control a significant portion of the DSL market, which would allow AT&T to set forth the same anti-trust/anti-competitive behavior (by filtering VoIP data).

            Not to mention AT&T would then have control of the bigger half of cellular customers in America (Cingular/AT&T Wireless). The last step would be their re-acquisition of Verizon (which would be epic at this point, as Verizon just acquired MCI, which was one of the companies AT&T flagged as a "competitor" in their earlier anti-trust proceedings).

            So as a consumer, I can see this leading down a very dark road for consumers.
            • you forget that AT&T will control a significant portion of the DSL market, which would allow AT&T to set forth the same anti-trust/anti-competitive behavior (by filtering VoIP data).

              Perhaps now the nature of recent attempts to create a tiered internet is revealed as a stalking horse.

              Since these guys are going to have to make some sort of "compromises" in order to pass regulatory scrutiny, what better compromise than to sacrifice something they don't have anyway? Make a bunch of noise about multi-ti
          • But this all goes away if phone companies are allowed to "share towers"

            Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't Cingular and Verizon already lease tower space from each other to cut down on costs?

            In this case, density economics don't play anywhere nearly as big of a factor.
      • Until those merge up to form the InterMegaBell corp. Cell options really suck, because you get both service and featureset issues - Verizon is the only place with decent (but still not great) signal where I live, but Cingular has unlimited texting while... you get the idea - you can't get everything from one place. At least with convential phones, the only rates were local and long distance. They're starting to get a bit anti-competitive regarding VoIP over DSL lines, because they'd obviously not prefer
    • The original breakup took place in a different political climate, when wrong ideas were popular. Now that right ideas are popular, we must systematically unravel anything that was accomplished back then.
    • So that what passed as comedy in the early 80's with Lily Tomlin, now holds pretty true. I can't find the SNL "We're AT&T. We don't care. We don't have to.", but I did find her Call to Mr Veedle video.. [lilytomlin.com] .. Funny and sad at the same time.
  • War!

    The Republic, with the help of its Jedi soothsayers, foresaw trouble ahead, leaving Ma Bell in one piece and to her own devices. Ma Bell fought back with all her might, but was torn to pieces by the deadly lightsabers of the Republic.

    Several decades later, inefficiencies in having separate phone systems have led to the collaboration of those separated parts. Their merger begins anew their gradual domination of the Republic's phone systems. This time, the Republic isn't so concerned.
  • She's back (Score:5, Insightful)

    by darkjedi521 (744526) on Sunday March 05, 2006 @09:39PM (#14855544)
    Give it a year or two, and Ma Bell will be back, only without the cool bits this time (Bell Labs).
  • Oh, no! (Score:2, Funny)

    by SEWilco (27983)
    Say it ain't so, Ma!
  • by Chas (5144) on Sunday March 05, 2006 @09:41PM (#14855551) Homepage Journal
    I for one welcome our "Old Is New Again" phone overlords.

    When do I sign up for actually renting my telephone again?

    *sigh*
  • Wait a minute (Score:3, Interesting)

    by truckaxle (883149) on Sunday March 05, 2006 @09:42PM (#14855552) Homepage
    Didn't the Government spend a decade and millions of dollars breaking ma bell into piece and now we are only watching those piece reassemble. Unfortunately for most people internet access only comes thru the phone company and a system lacking competition in this vital area is not healthy
    • Chalk it up to standard government efficiency.
    • Re:Wait a minute (Score:3, Insightful)

      by evilviper (135110)

      and a system lacking competition in this vital area is not healthy

      When did we EVER have competition? Except in the biggest markets, people have never had any choice for their local telco.

      The only difference between now, and when it was a monopoly, is that they go by a different name in different areas. They're still just matching each other's prices, terms, etc.

      The whole idea of a telco is antiquated. Now, at least we're seeing competition to the telcos via cable and wireless providers.

      It probably was ju

    • Re:Wait a minute (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Bios_Hakr (68586)
      Today, if you walked into a RBOC and asked to buy/lease local loops or rackspace, they'd have to let you. 30 years ago, they'd have laughed in your face.

      In fact, when you buy a SpeakEasy line, that's what happens. You buy the line from SE. SE buys a slot on the local DSLAM and pays to have it connected to your loop. Because SE is buying 1000 lines at a time, they can get them cheaper than if you bought it directly from your RBOC.
      • Re:Wait a minute (Score:5, Informative)

        by lordkuri (514498) on Sunday March 05, 2006 @10:01PM (#14855645)
        Today, if you walked into a RBOC and asked to buy/lease local loops or rackspace, they'd have to let you.

        Not since 2002, that was overturned. source [internetnews.com]
        • Not quite (Score:3, Interesting)

          by butlerm (3112)
          Not quite - the decision that you are referring to said that RBOCs did not have to share the *same* copper pair with DSL providers. CLECs can still get their own lines.

          The really scary part is the recent FCC decision to classify DSL as an "information service" that does not have to support independent ISPs at all, a decision that gives the Bell operating companies free a complete exemption from common carrier rules that were written to prevent Ma Bell from engaging in precisely the type of behavior that th
        • Re:Wait a minute (Score:3, Interesting)

          by BenFranske (646563)
          AFAIK if you're a real CLEC they still need to share the pair. It also doesn't really matter because the ILECs have discovered it's more profitable to share the pair and then not have to deal with any customer service than it is to do it all in-house. My understanding is they make more actual profit (after you subtract customer service costs) on the shared lines. The reason they don't drop service and strictly become a wholesaler is none of the CLECs (even together) are big enough to handle the volume.
  • I'm a Bellsouth customer. Maybe now I'll get some faster DSL at a better price. If not, oh well, there are other providers of net access.
    • Re:I say GOOD (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LurkerXXX (667952)
      You expect Ma Bell to give you better rates???

      You must be a young'en. Let me tell you about how it was back in the day. Ma Bell used to charge a monthly rental fee for each and every phone in your house. Not each line into your house, each phone hooked up that that one line. Want another phone in another room for convenience? You have to pay for it. Each and every month. You weren't allowed to buy your own phone, you were forced to rent theirs.

      Ma Bell coming back is NOT a good thing for consumers.

  • Inevitable. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bob_Robertson (454888) on Sunday March 05, 2006 @09:49PM (#14855580) Homepage
    The old AT&T government granted monopoly was never really ended. The so-called Baby Bells maintained government granted monopoly status over their respective regions, a monopoly status that is still in place.

    One of the most corrupt forms of merchantilism, these monopolies insulate the phone companies from competition and create the environment for them to simply buy each other all over again.

    The only thing Judge Green would have needed to do all those years ago was repeal (and prevent the states from reestablishing) monopoly protection of AT&T. Let competition come in where ever the established service provider was not providing decent service, or was charging too much, or anything and everything else that different providers use to compete for your, and my, business.

    But no, the regulators wouldn't release even slightly their death-grip on the phone systems, not really, so local monopoly grants continued. Now they're buying each other and the "anti-monopoly" types have the gall to act surprised.

    There is no such thing as a "natural" monopoly. Even Microsoft must continually innovate (or at least make people think that they innovate) in order to keep their customers. Only government is able to grant monopoly status, as was done with railroads, electric utilities, telephones. If some company is dominant in a field without those legal grants, they can only do so because they serve the customers better than their competition.

    I don't mean "provide better service", because even as Windows came to dominate I was already using Linux and understood that Windows was not providing "better service". I mean serving their customers better, by better serving their subjective wants whether an outsider would consider them objectively "better" served or not.

    Bob-

    • Re:Inevitable. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ScaryMonkey (886119)
      The only thing I would disagree with in your comment is that only the government can grant monopoly status; An already established monopoly (established, perhaps, by being the first implementer of a new technology) doesn't need government support to maintain its position, especially in areas where entry costs are high. In these cases the monopoly can often drive new competitors out of business by operating at a loss long enough to ruin the competitor's finances. In reality, of course, the collusion of go
      • Re:Inevitable. (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Bob_Robertson (454888)
        I know it's easy to get tricked into the "high entry cost" myth, so please bear with me.

        Innovation happens because some shmoe "entrepreneur" smells a profit. If "entry costs" are high, it will require something extra to enter that market. Usually, this is done through innovation rather than trying to beat the established player at their own game.

        Wired vs. wireless is a good example of this. Yet still, local governments have extended their monopoly grants to cell phone providers to prevent that very innovati
        • Re:Inevitable. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by arkanes (521690)
          It's not a myth and you're an idiot for thinking it is. Nobody ever said that a high cost of entry was a *total* barrier to competition. It's just a signfigiant one, that has a very real and very powerful chilling effect on competition. Hand waving and deciding that no matter how inefficent a market might be, it'll always get better because "someone will innovate something" is ridiculous.
        • Re:Inevitable. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by squiggleslash (241428) on Sunday March 05, 2006 @11:16PM (#14855848) Homepage Journal
          You need to charter one ship across the Atlantic to compete with the East India Company. It's a one-off, and you'll make a profit.

          You need to lay an entire network to compete with an established phone company. The phone company you're competing with already has laid, and paid for, that company. So while you take twenty years to build your network and 40 to recoup your investment, you'll be somehow raising that money from customers who have the choice between your network, and the cheaper incumbent.

          How the FUCK do you compete with that? Are you on the same planet? There's absolutely nothing whatsoever you can do. If you promise "better service", the incumbent has plenty of time to improve their services. If you promise enhanced features, the incumbent can roll that out to all their customers before you've laid the lines in a single street.

          This isn't a myth. It's real. It's why nobody's building fully competitive networks, even in countries where it's encouraged. In Britain, the only competition was from cable TV companies, who were only able to get their networks built because BT was banned from selling television services. And I've never heard of someone asking to build a competing network and being told "no" by any American government. Why? Because nobody wants to.

          The only "competition" we'll see in the short term is from the cable companies. In the long term, we don't even know for sure that the cable companies and the telephone companies will not merge anyway. And we already know that a duopoly isn't enough to ensure buyer-focussed products.

          We need regulation. And we cannot wait for libertarian utopias to be proven idiotic, especially since I've never come across a libertarian who hasn't find something government related to blame any failure of deregulation upon. The wires should work for us.

          • There comes a time, when a service, good or utility becomes so vital, so pervasive and so common in peoples everyday lives that a nation simply cannot afford to have this essential aspect of their civilisation in the hands of unscruplous private companies.

            There are onlt a few such services. Electricity, water, sewage, air, and landline telecommunications. You cannot allow the free market anywhere near these services. If you do, service will degrade, people will suffer and your economy, and indeed society, w
  • Let them consolidate (Score:4, Informative)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Sunday March 05, 2006 @09:50PM (#14855586) Homepage
    Then they'll be regulated as a monopoly because no one will be able to argue with a straight face that there is a free market for telecoms. With monopoly status, they won't be able to argue that they are being forced to cut their prices down to unsustainable levels. Cheap broadband is nice and all, but if it's too cheap they aren't making enough money to support their infrastructure which is why access sucks in most of the country. As I've been saying [blindmindseye.com], I'd rather they charge me $100/month for real 3mpbs up AND down than charge me $15-$40 a month for 3mpbs with an invisible cap on its monthly use. It makes more sense for them too. If they provide the bandwidth each month, Apple and others can provide the content which makes their service worth paying a premium for.
  • Interesting that this deal consolidates the two owners of Cingular into a single entity. According to the report, all wired and wireless services will be brought to market under the AT&T brand name.

    All that time and enery to build the Cingular brand and now poof - in a year when the deal is closed, they will rebrand again back to the AT&T name. Seems like it was only a little over a year or so ago when my local AT&T Wireless store was relabeled with the Cingular name.
  • is coming.

    Wait ten years and Verizon will merge with AT&T to form the new Bell Telephone Company.
  • This action by AT&T will consolidate more than half of the original Bell System into a single entity, leaving only Verizon and Qwest as remaining Bell family competitors.

    Although they don't compete for residential service, Lucent Technologies, formerly known as Bell Laboratories, is also one of the children of the original AT&T.
    • There are a number of small fragments from Ma Bell, such as Cincinatti Bell, which also has survived the breakup independently. However, they're scarcely major players in the telecom field, which is why I neglected them; Lucent's going down the tubes especially.
    • Lucent was spun out as the hardware end of the old Bell System; yes they inherited The Labs [bell-labs.com], but why in Ghu's name they didn't take back the traditional name of WESTERN ELECTRIC still astounds me. And the Sphincter of Innovation (it dilates every so often and something plops out) as a logo - WTF?
  • Four years ago I made the mistake of signing up w/ AT&T. I cancled and paid off my bill (something like $14). Now, every four months I start getting bills, then the calls. I ignore them till they catch me. Then I ask for immediate acceleration. If I don't get it I curse a little (I've been doing this 3x/yr for 4 years now -- I'm not normally an asshole). Eventually someone says they see the problem and correct it. Every time I'm told this. And inevitably, the bills come back. Last time, when the person was through "fixing" it (I've since started getting bills again), she asked if I was interested in signing up for service. I laughed.
  • by AubieTurtle (743744) on Sunday March 05, 2006 @10:07PM (#14855662)
    This action by AT&T will consolidate more than half of the original Bell System into a single entity, leaving only Verizon and Qwest as remaining Bell family competitors.
    Cincinnati Bell will be quite surprised to learn that it no longer exists.
    • Lucent, too :)

      Forgive me for ignoring the little people.
    • Re:Cincinnati Bell (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 05, 2006 @10:55PM (#14855792)
      This action by AT&T will consolidate more than half of the original Bell System into a single entity, leaving only Verizon and Qwest as remaining Bell family competitors.

      Cincinnati Bell will be quite surprised to learn that it no longer exists.

      Possibly the summary was referring only to companies that were part of the original AT&T and were spun off
      as RBOCs way back when. Cincinnati Bell [wikipedia.org], despite it's name, was not actually part of AT&T; it was an independent company who licensed the right to provide service for the Cincinnati area.

  • Judge Green (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mknewman (557587) * on Sunday March 05, 2006 @10:15PM (#14855683)
    Judge Green must be rolling in his grave.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 05, 2006 @10:20PM (#14855698)
    Why am I reminded of the scene from Terminator 2 where the T-1000 is blown to bits and the liquid metal droplets flow toward each other to self-arrange back into the T-1000 ?

    T-1000 [auto-sfondi-desktop.com]

  • I think we all know what's going to happen next. Either the remaining Baby Bells will merge with the new Big Bell, or they'll establish mutually beneficial ties with one another behind closed doors to make it look like Bell isn't back when it really is.

    In other news, the zombie of Harold Greene has been reported roaming about the countryside vandalizing telephone booths, muttering something about 'Humpty Dumpty' and a monolith somewhere...
  • Oh (Score:3, Funny)

    by PacketScan (797299) on Sunday March 05, 2006 @10:23PM (#14855707)
    Shit.
  • by rufey (683902) on Sunday March 05, 2006 @10:33PM (#14855729)
    Cingular, which absorbed AT&T Wireless in October 2004 when it was purchased by SBC and BellSouth (and now owned by new AT&T and BellSouth), will also have its name dropped in favor of the AT&T name.

    From MSNBC [msn.com]: After spending millions of dollars to rebrand AT&T Wireless Services Inc. stores as Cingular stores and hundreds of millions of dollars more on marketing the new Cingular after its $41 billion acquisition of AT&T Wireless in October 2004, Cingular will now become AT&T if the merger with BellSouth is completed.

    So for all of those who at one time had AT&T Wireless as your cell provider and stuck with them through the Cingular Wireless purchase and are still with them, you'll now be moved back to the (new) AT&T brand. I would have been one of them had my compnay not switched to T-Mobile 3 weeks ago.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 05, 2006 @10:42PM (#14855755)
    As the owner of the oldest ISP in South Carolina, I can honestly say that BellSouth's is full of crap about their estimated value of their lines and billing. We have 63 locations in Georgia, NC, and SC now, and in almost all of the locations, BellSouth struggled to even connect a simple T1. Very often, they had trouble even delivering a few POTS lines. Yes, we still offer 33.6 dialup in many areas since BellSouth is too incompetent to configure some of their switches to handle PRI. The only employees they have left have no experience and most are simply incompetent. My grandfather, father, and two of my brothers worked as repairmen for them. They've all retired or retired early. The only people still on the payroll have no idea what they're doing. They can't even troubleshoot simple POTS lines. Most of their local copper lines are complete crap. BellSouth really started cutting corners on the quality of their wires in the mid 80's. When looking for new locations to open a POP, I go to buildings built before 1980 since they have much better wiring to the building than the newer BellSouth garbage.

    My mother worked in their payphone operation division. They were so incompetent, that that division went under in 2003. BellSouth couldn't even keep their own damn payphones working. According to my mother, at one time in her area over 40% of the BellSouth payphones were inoperable due to BellSouth problems. Payphones were first made in 1891, and BellSouth couldn't even keep that 100+ year-old technology working. Because of that my mother now works as a cashier in a grocery store.

    About the billing. They bill us about 20 times (not a typo) what they actually should. I have an employee that spends almost full-time dealing with their billing screw-ups. WorldCom used to inflate billing like that...right before their billing claims were exposed a complete fraud. BellSouth certainly seems to be headed the same way.

    You can summarize BellSouth by the outdated or inferior equipment, a very incompetent workforce due to layoffs and early retirement, substandard wiring, and inflated billing. I don't see this going well at all for SBC.
    • Well said.

      The part that you left out, additionally, is that this lack of talent is exactly what the public wanted.

      We want 6 cents per minute? 5? 3? 2? People aren't free - and you know full well how much a *competent* lineman or switchman costs. Given the promise of an automated "smart" system that is run by monkeys, or a legacy labor-intensive, skill-based system that requires "experience" (e.g. TIME)... Cheap, Fast, Correct: Guess which two we (the customers) picked.

      In short, we're getting exactly what
  • by mr_burns (13129) on Sunday March 05, 2006 @11:03PM (#14855812)
    http://www.2600.com/covers/fa042.gif [2600.com]

    Crazy that is was a year and a half ago. But still pretty topical. And I'm pretty sure those of us old enough to remember the days of many RBOC's can identify with the statement.

  • by massysett (910130) on Sunday March 05, 2006 @11:05PM (#14855816) Homepage
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Rbocs.gif [wikipedia.org]

    If Verizon buys Qwest, we're down to two phone companies!

  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Sunday March 05, 2006 @11:22PM (#14855858) Homepage Journal
    The 1981 breakup gave the Baby Bells "local dialtone" and big AT&T (and others) "long distance." Now that the technology has all changed, this line of demarcation is obsolete.

    It's time for another breakup, and this time it should go as follows: the RBOC's (soon to be the One Big BOC) maintain the physical cable plant, and they maintain the central offices basically as colocation facilities. Then, you have carriers (none of which are allowed to be RBOC's [or the imminent One Big BOC]) as colocation customers in those central offices. They lease customer loops from the BOC/LEC/whatever and then they provide "telecom services" over those loops. We don't care what the services are -- dial tone, DSL, whatever. No distinction between voice and data, between local and long distance, whatever, because as we know, it's all the same crap now.

    THAT is the perfect way to keep the government-granted monopoly working efficiently for consumers. The monopoly must extend only as far as it needs to, and no further.
  • by core plexus (599119) on Sunday March 05, 2006 @11:48PM (#14855916) Homepage
    My phone, internet, mobile, and DTV are all supplied by a member-owned cooperative (Matanuska Telephone). I used to have service through corporate suppliers, but switched years ago, and am glad I did.

    The service costs less, and after the infrastructure and upgrades are paid for, I get a check back every year. Plus, we get to vote on stuff, and we own the company.

    Only way to go, IMO.

  • I see the future.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by borgheron (172546) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:52AM (#14856059) Homepage Journal
    First there will be a merger between Verizon and Qwest forming Veriqwest or, my personal favorite, Qweerizon, whichever you prefer. The reason given for this merger will be to allow them to more adeptly compete with the new AT&T. Once the new entity starts to loose ground, the new AT&T will gobble it up and then it's "HELLO, MA BELL!"

    GJC
  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Monday March 06, 2006 @01:05AM (#14856098) Journal
    I worked as a paralegal "research analyst" working directly for the lawyers involved, and I can assure all that the break up of ATT was not the defeat of some evil megacorp at the hands of some valiant heroic upstarts. It was an ugly battle by giant corporations, all of whom were evil Evil EVIL, when they weren't being incompetent and utterly stupid.

    Did ATT deny MCI, Sprint, ITT, sonitrol, and everyone else involved access to their lines?

    Yep.

    Was MCI a giant grasping hellhole bent not on defeating ATT, but becoming ATT?

    Yep.

    Was Sprint an incompetent bunch of losers who couldn't find their own butts with a flashlight, a map, and both hands at the ready?

    Yep.

    Was Sonitrol along for the ride?

    Yep.

    Was ITT a vast corrupt corporation run by thugs?

    Yep.

    It's all there in the evidence - which fills a freakin' warehouse somewhere. Representatives of ITT threating people, Sprint incapable of figuring out how to bill their customers, MCI pulling all kinds of nasty shenanigans on ATT and other providers - and ream after ream of circuit listings noting that the denial of service was for "Reasons Unknown" - it was ugly. Truly nasty. There were no good guys in that case.

    And now ATT wants to rebuild its empire. Well, it's a different world now with VOIP, Cellphones, cable modems, etc. Even if they do corner the DSL market, there's another market out there...

    I don't if I should laugh or cry for all my wasted effort in that messy trial.

    RS

  • by gmajor (514414) on Monday March 06, 2006 @01:15AM (#14856117) Journal
    I've had horrible experiences with all three companies. I would seriously consider shorting AT&T stock now. Combining two bureaucratic and inept companies will never work!

    I took a chance with SBC local phone service two years ago. I tacked on DSL for convenience, but soon regretted it. Every encounter with SBC has resulted in pain and grief. There were numerous misbillings. As soon as I had the chance to switch, I cancelled my service. I will never ever go back to them. I had the same experience with old AT&T. In fact, I currently do not use a land line. If I were to get one, I would use one of the cable companies.

    I don't know how these companies can make or sustain profits when they treat their customers like they treated me. There must be some financial shenanigans occurring behind scenes. You can't run a successful business by pissing off your customers.
  • by Bodysurf (645983) on Monday March 06, 2006 @01:36AM (#14856154)

    The new SBC, ATT, Bellsouth, Cingular, whatever will run fiber to my house like Verizon is doing [wikipedia.org].

    Their current Project Lightspeed [sbc.com] is dead before arrival.

  • by shoptroll (544006) on Monday March 06, 2006 @07:10AM (#14856868)
    Chalk this and the MS anti-trust suit up to the ineffectiveness of the Rockefeller Anti-trust Legislation...

Real Users find the one combination of bizarre input values that shuts down the system for days.

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