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

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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Steven Lichter
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