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Essential Guide to Telecommunications, The, Third Edition by Annabel Z. Dodd

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The Bell System Prior to and After 1984

The telecommunications landscape has changed radically since 1984 when AT&T had a near monopoly on telephone service. In the United States competition for sales of telephone systems started in the 1960s. However, the most dramatic impetus for competition for long distance service occurred in 1984.

Divestiture of the Bell System from AT&T in 1984

Divestiture was designed to open competition for long distance not local service. Before 1984, the Bell system consisted of 22 local Bell telephone companies that were owned by AT&T. Customers had one point of contact for all of their telecommunications requirements. AT&T, with its 22 Bell operating companies:

  • Sold local, interstate and international long distance ...

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