The takeover will also enable the new AT&T, which was itself taken over by former Baby Bell
SBC Communications last November, to extend its reach in the south-east of the US.
In most cases, that's not a problem, because the Baby Bells
have expertise in delivering high-quality voice service.
When Luther talked with Builder, he admitted he was doubling back, taking an especially hard look at packages from the Baby Bells
, also known as regional Bell operating companies (RBOCs).
And that's why the Baby Bells
and their long-distance counterparts are so justifiably upset.
Yell is the UK's dominant publisher of telephone directories and is the leading independent directory publisher in the United States, where it competes against the Baby Bells
. Apax and Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst bought Yell from BT Group for pounds 2.1 billion and then floated the business last July in the largest London share flotation for two years.
Alltel (NYSE: AT), a telephone company that services rural spots the Baby Bells
overlook, is another pick.
The Baby Bells
, which own the wires connecting the vast majority of US homes and businesses to global communications networks and lease access, at regulated rates, to other companies that want to provide voice or data services, may have escaped the worst of the current telecom turmoil.
Even after the breakup of the Bell system in 1984, AT&T and the regional Bell operating companies (the "Baby Bells
") had remained bulwarks of the economy.
The bill would increase the power of the Baby Bells
to offer their services to American homes.
When Congress passed the Telecommunications Act in 1996 and broke up the Baby Bells
' monopoly in local phone service, competition was expected to heat up, in much the same way that competition for long distance had a decade before.
The Baby Bells
are reluctant to make a large investment in broadband infrastructure if they will be forced to let their competitors use that infrastructure.
These were then organized into seven "Baby Bells
" to provide regional phone service.