January 1, 1998 |
In the latest assault on the oft-maligned Telecommunications Act of 1996, a federal judge in Texas on Wednesday struck down as unconstitutional some key provisions of the landmark law designed to bring competition to the local phone industry. The ruling is not expected to have any immediate impact on the process of opening local phone markets to competition, however. That process has already been stalled by previous challenges that are destined to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
December 24, 1997 |
AT&T Corp. agreed to sell its customer services unit to Cincinnati Bell Inc. for $650 million as part of a continuing effort to slim down and focus on its telecommunications business. AT&T said in October that it planned to sell its Solutions Customer Care business. As part of the deal, Cincinnati Bell's Matrixx Marketing Inc. unit would handle customer inquiries and employee services for AT&T Solutions for eight years.
December 20, 1997 |
AT&T Corp. said Friday that it is freezing hiring and halting its effort to expand into local telephone service in an aggressive drive by new Chairman C. Michael Armstrong to cut costs and buoy the company's stock price. AT&T's decision to halt its foray into local service is the latest sign of trouble with a federal law that was supposed to nurture new competition in local markets that would drive down phone rates for consumers.
November 26, 1997 |
The Federal Communications Commission voted Tuesday to open the nation's $200-billion telecommunications market to greater foreign competition and in a separate action proposed that all new radio and TV licenses be sold to the highest bidder. The two decisions together represent a further embrace of market competition by the federal agency and will likely spur additional consolidation in the booming telecommunications industry.
November 5, 1997 |
Telephone carriers on Tuesday started asking federal regulators for permission to begin charging customers for $4 billion to pay for a politically controversial project that marks the most sweeping upgrade of the nation's phone system since direct dialing 60 years ago.
October 7, 1997 |
The price of a pay phone call appears headed up to 35 cents across much of the nation, under new federal rules going into effect today that free telephone companies to charge whatever the market will bear. Pacific Bell, which operates about 65% of California's 227,000 pay phones, acknowledges that the days of 25-cent calls are coming to an end but will not say how big a rate increase it is planning to make.
August 20, 1997 |
Federal regulators on Tuesday rejected Ameritech Corp.'s request to provide long-distance phone service, thwarting the carrier's bid to be the first Baby Bell to offer such service since the 1984 breakup of AT&T Corp. But in a partial victory for Ameritech, the Federal Communications Commission provided a detailed road map for how the Chicago-based carrier and other regional Bells can enter the $80-billion long-distance business.
August 11, 1997 |
For nearly two years now, a bitter battle has been raging over the extent to which law enforcement authorities should be allowed to use powerful new surveillance technologies to keep tabs on users of telephone and computer networks. The Justice Department has been trying to implement a 1994 federal law aimed at ensuring that the emerging digital telephone network will accommodate government requests to conduct wiretap and surveillance activities.
July 28, 1997 |
When Congress overhauled the nation's telecommunications laws last year and paved the way for competition in the market for local phone service, one of the major goals was to spur investment in new infrastructure. New competitors could get into the game by reselling dial tones from the Baby Bells, but for the most part that was meant to be a temporary solution. Things haven't turned out the way lawmakers expected.
July 24, 1997 |
In a highly unusual maneuver, House and Senate budget conferees are considering diverting billions of dollars in rural phone subsidies to make up for an expected shortfall in federal airwave-auction revenue. The federal government projects a $3-billion to $4-billion budget gap stemming from a short supply in forthcoming auctions of airwaves to communications companies.