March 31, 1998 |
Concerned about the costly and disruptive nationwide explosion of area codes, the Federal Communications Commission has given the telephone industry six months to come up with a plan to alleviate the problem. The FCC asked the North American Numbering Council, a 34-member industry advisory group, to develop national standards to allocate telephone numbers more efficiently. The request, contained in a letter from the FCC's common carrier bureau to Council Chairman A. Richard Metzger Jr.
March 4, 1998 |
AT&T Corp., blaming outside sellers of its phone service for the growing problem of consumers having their long-distance carrier switched without their knowledge, said it will curtail its use of independent sales agents, place restrictions on resellers and start a phone hotline to answer customer complaints. The Basking Ridge, N.J.
March 3, 1998 |
Bell Atlantic Corp. and SBC Communications Inc. signed agreements with DirecTV and United States Satellite Broadcasting Co. to sell satellite-television services to their telephone customers. Financial terms were not disclosed. The regional Bell phone companies will offer service from DirecTV and USSB, two of the nation's largest satellite-TV providers. The move gives Los Angeles-based DirecTV and St. Paul, Minn.
January 27, 1998 |
The Supreme Court agreed to review a lower court decision that struck down landmark federal rules designed to pry open the $100-billion local phone market. But the high court said it will not hear the case until the fall, creating uncertainty until a decision is made late this year or in early 1999. Little competition has arisen for local phone service since the rules were set aside by a federal appeals court in St. Louis last year.
January 3, 1998 |
Criticizing the nation's local telephone companies for being more willing "to litigate than compete," the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission said Monday he will seek to block a court ruling that two local carriers obtained this week invalidating a key portion of the landmark federal Telecommunications Act. In a pointed reaction to the controversial New Year's Eve ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Joe Kendall of Wichita Falls, Texas, FCC Chairman William E.
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.
December 2, 1997 |
AirTouch Communications Inc. will buy stakes owned by U.S. Cellular Corp. and its parent, Chicago-based Telephone & Data Systems Inc., in several cellular markets for about $246.3 million in cash and stock, the companies said. San Francisco-based AirTouch will issue 5 million shares and pay $50 million in cash to U.S. Cellular and Telephone & Data. AirTouch will get a stake in cellular systems in Seattle; Tucson; Duluth, Minn.; and rural areas in Arizona, Colorado and Idaho.
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.