TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: AT&T 'Family' Reunion: Merger Approved

Re: AT&T 'Family' Reunion: Merger Approved

Steven Lichter (
Sun, 31 Dec 2006 23:11:30 GMT

Fred Goldstein wrote:

> In V25I431, wrote,

>> I'm not sure I understand why the FCC should be dictating policy in
>> this situation.

>> AT&T is not the old monolithic and powerful Bell System. It is a
>> shadow of its former self, keeping the name for marketing purposes.
>> It's last power base, Long Distance, isn't worth much anymore with all
>> the cheap fibre and satellite circuits lots of others have installed.
>> As others have noted, even the traditional landline business is
>> falling off for companies like Verizon.

> This is truly a bizarro apologetic. Has Lisa been sleeping under a
> rock this past year? The company in question is not "AT&T Corp.", the
> long distance company that was a shadow of its former self, the
> failing residuary of the old Bell parent company. That company failed
> in 2005. The company in question is "AT&T Inc.", formerly SBC
> Communications, formerly Southwestern Bell. It purchased the assets
> of AT&T and the brand name. It is the monopoly ILEC in 13 states
> (pre-BellSouth) and majority owner of Cingular Wireless. It faces a
> little bit of competition, to be sure, but not a whole heck of a lot,
> having bought out AT&T, and with Verizon owning the ex-MCI assets.
> Those two do not compete very hard with each other, in case nobody's
> noticed -- the Bells prefer to stick to their own turfs. And the
> standalone LD business, where they overlapped, is almost dead.

>> Consequently, I don't know why it should be forced to discount its
>> rates for wholesalers. It should be free to do what every other
>> business does -- if it feels it's in its interest to discount, it will
>> do so, otherwise not.

> Its network was built as a regulated utility, granted monopoly
> status. Nowadays there is a legal right to compete but that doesn't
> overcome the "natural monopoly" advantage of owning the
> ratepayer-funded physical plant. The Telecom Act of 1996 was a
> compromise, allowing the Bells into LD and other ventures in exchange
> for allowing competition, which explicitly included "wholesale"
> obligations. Now they want out of that part of the deal?

> Also note the "best" part of the merger concessions: In their
> statement, Martin and Tate said that they did not like the conditions
> and WOULD NOT ENFORCE THEM, and indeed might PREVENT them from taking
> effect! So the two Democrats on the FCC voted for conditions that the
> Republican chairman then DISCLAIMED! Since the Order has not yet been
> formally drafted, the Democrats do have time to back out. There are
> also other legal ramifications; I wonder what the new Congress will
> think.

> Martin's statement referred to the "Democrat Commissioners", using the
> word "Democrat" as an adjective in lieu of "Democratic", the proper
> form. Such usage is a common insult among southern Republicans,
> reminiscent of Martin's mentor, Jesse Helms. Rumor has it he is
> aiming for a Senate seat from NC and is thus sucking up to Jesse's
> base.

Verizon competes a lot with AT&T, they have their payphone outside of
most supermarkets and Drug stores all over the country and offer LD
service outside of their service areas; in in some cases full phone
services out side of the service area. Verizon used the old GTel unit as
part of Verizon Business and they are in a lot of big business as
government systems, the DOD for one.

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