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Newsjock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 05:05 AM
Original message
'Ma Bell is back'
Source: Los Angeles Times

When the Bell telephone system aka AT&T was broken up in 1984, consumers were told this would be a good thing because it would increase competition.

When the U.S. telecommunications market was deregulated in 1996, consumers were told this would be a good thing because it would increase competition.

And now AT&T is planning to merge with T-Mobile, the latest in a string of acquisitions that effectively restores Ma Bell to her former girth yet allows the company to operate in a looser regulatory environment.

Consumers might wonder if they've been played.

"There's no way this latest merger can be good for consumers," said Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League. "This places a lot of power in the hands of only a few companies."

... So Ma Bell is back. Federal regulators should waste no time in welcoming her home with new rules that address the shortcomings of our failed experiment in deregulation.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-lazarus-20110321,...
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RKP5637 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 05:17 AM
Response to Original message
1. Like a bad dream ... n/t
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madmax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 05:25 AM
Response to Original message
2. Yes! I had no complaints with Ma Bell.
Service or price. In additon, I'm hearing impaired Ma Bell had options for me that worked.
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Tesha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 06:03 AM
Response to Original message
3. The funny part is that AT&T really isn't the old AT&T.
If I recall the deal correctly, Cingular essentially bought
the name "AT&T Mobility" and not much else. They (Cingular)
then continued operating their GSM cellular network under
this new (and much-better-known) name. There's really
nothing much left of the old American Telephone and
Telegraph Corporation and the company that's acquiring
Tmobile's American assets certainly isn't the old "Ma Bell".

Tesha


Tesha
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TexasProgresive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 06:44 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. Cingular was always ATT
ATT had a huge failure with a product they called ATT Wireless. This was a wireless system to bring broadband and phone service wirelessly into homes and businesses. It was a humongous flop. The service was horrible. It so sullied the name ATT that they changed the name of their mobile phone service to Cingular. When SBC consolidated ATT, New England Tel and others they brought the name ATT back to their mobile service but still avoiding ATT Wireless choosing to go with ATT Mobility.

The final act in this play will be the merger of ATT and Verizon. Then it will be a true monopoly and virtually unregulated by local, state or federal agencies. This will make the people happy- well, some people.
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NotThisTime Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 04:33 PM
Response to Reply #3
15. Actually besides wireless, SBC bought AT&T a couple years back. Kept the name but essentially it is
still SBC....
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 12:39 AM
Response to Reply #15
20. What is SBC?
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 04:28 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. SBC = Southwestern Bell Company, one of the original regional Bell companies, now ATT nt.
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liberal N proud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 06:07 AM
Response to Original message
4. Monopolies rule!
:sarcasm:
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TexasProgresive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 06:37 AM
Response to Original message
5. Back with a vengence- The old Bell System was a regulated monopoly
This new Bell is getting what they always wanted-deregulated and metered service. The break up of the Bell system was the 1st victory of the deregulation forces. People bought it and people lose.
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ChazII Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 03:42 PM
Response to Reply #5
14. +100 n/t
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drm604 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 06:53 AM
Response to Original message
7. Is this a done deal?
Can the merger be blocked?
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rurallib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 07:31 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. The OP said "planning." But I can't remember the last big merger
that was stopped. I am sure some have been since Reagan, but I sure can't remember them.
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charmay Donating Member (139 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 06:54 AM
Response to Original message
8. Gave $ to Walker
AT&T Wisconsin Employee PAC (formerly SBC)gave $5000.00 or more to Gov. Scott Walker's campaign.
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Javaman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 11:32 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. SBC (now AT&T) was a huge repuke donor.
They are based here in Texas. They have many a repuke in their pockets.

They are funding much of the anti-neutrality legislation.
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Stinky The Clown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 11:36 AM
Response to Original message
11. Verizon was also issue from the loins of that patrticular regulatory act.
Verizon was a "Baby Bell" after the Big Bell was broken up. It grew to bigger proportions than the old entity. And now these two entities eclipse any dream the old Bell System had.

Message to consumers: Fuck You
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Volaris Donating Member (479 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 03:37 PM
Response to Original message
12. Didn't there used to be an old phone phreaker's saying about -you don't fuck with MaBell?
it seems the ghost of that old woman is proving them correct lol
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 03:40 PM
Response to Original message
13. I've gone full circle from lousy service from AT &T through
various companies that have been bought,sold and merged, all the way back to AT & T again, with no other choice today and still the same fabulously crappy service and it costs twice as much as originally. It only took ten years.
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freshwest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 10:56 PM
Response to Original message
16. It would be good if universal service was mandated as before. But it won't be.
Ma Bell was too socialistic, making sure everyone got a line, no matter what the plant cost was. That model had to fall before the reactionaries who wanted Reagan. Not only that, it broke one of the largest unions in the USA that had made AT&T behave itself. After the break up, it was all divide and conquer. We've gone a long way down the road since then, and all of it bad. If we have anyone with the guts to strongly regulate this industry, it will be beneficial. But who is calling for regulation, not even Obama at last report. We don't seem to have any say about this whatsoever.
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Lugnut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 11:46 PM
Response to Original message
17. We used to have laws that forbade this stuff. n/t
Edited on Mon Mar-21-11 11:46 PM by Lugnut
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pa28 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 12:32 AM
Response to Original message
18. I have T-Mobile and I know AT&T borrowed heavily for deal.
Breaking out my crystal ball I'm seeing consumers like me paying higher rates to cover the M&A froth. With fewer players in the market the tendency is toward collusion rather than competition.
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 12:38 AM
Response to Original message
19. When we struck against her, we called her a cheap mother fucker.
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