Problem child :: The Baby Bells cry foul as the competition intensifies


Red Herring :: ‘See, not everyone selling phone service is what you’d call a phone company,” says the gravelly voice-over on a recent TV ad. As pigeons land on (and presumably crap on) moodily lit phone lines, the ruffled feathers are obvious. “SBC has telecommunications networks across the country. Our competitors have access to them. SBC has multibillion dollar plans to develop new technology. Most of our competitors have marketing plans.” In the ads, SBC Communications–the holding company for Baby Bell subsidiaries like SBC Pacific Bell and SBC Nevada Bell–illustrates what seems like a free-market outrage. Long-distance carriers like AT&T, MCI, and Talk America have seemingly unfettered access to SBC’s infrastructure and consequently to its local markets . . . and paying customers.

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