Monday, March 06, 2006

Ma Bell Still Kickin'

I awoke this morning to discover that Ma Bell is still alive and kickin'. The new AT&T, born out the purchase of AT&T by SBC last November, plans to purchase Bell South. If this deal goes through, there will be a new company that looks a lot like the old Bell System prior to the government-mandated divestiture. The 7 baby bells created from the divestiture will be down to 3.

SBC (Southwestern Bell) swallowed up Pacific Telesis (composed of Pacific Bell and Nevada Bell) and Ameritech some time ago. With AT&T combined with Bell South, the only two other players in the telecommunications game would be Verizon and Qwest. With the purchase of Bell South, AT&T will wholly own Cingular Wireless and the largest broadband network in the country.

I was a manager at Pacific Telesis, then called Pacific Bell, when the Bell System split up took place. I worked in a co-located building (both Pac Bell and AT&T equipment and operations) and witnessed the colored tape being put down on the floor to mark PB & AT&T areas and the disolution of work groups and the formation of new ones.

The break up of AT&T was a painful processs which affected a lot of people and was deemed the correct thing to do by the federal government to foster competition. Did it do everything the federal government promised? Not really. Local rates haven't really dropped to the levels predicted. Long distance rates are cheaper as long as you bundle this service with a local service.

What's happening in the telecommuncations industry currently is the steady erosion of local, land line service by cellular and wireless. SBC/AT&T is all too aware of this fact and the purchase of Bell South will give them a huge wireless network. How this monopolizing (to me) activity by this new intity will play out, is anybody's guess. It depends a lot on how the federal and local regulatory bodies react to this deal.

We just might be talking about Ma Bell again some time in the near future. It should be an interesting year or two.

Talk to you later.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Pay Me Now Or Pay Me Later...

U.S. consumers are expected to pay more for using the Web, no matter which side Congress favors in the ongoing debate over whether cable and telephone companies can charge Internet businesses for the use of high-speed networks.

Read the whole story.

By Antone Gonsalves, TechWeb News - February 07, 2006 (6:11 PM EST)