Federal Communications Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Citation

47 Federal Communications Law Journal 439 (1994)


The divestiture of AT&T in 1983 began a revolution in telephone service, ending the communications giant's monopoly and sparking industry competition and lower telephone rates for consumers. However, the Modified Final Judgment, the court decision governing the Bell Operating Companies created in the wake of the divestiture, severely limits phone companies' ability to offer diverse communications products and to pursue customers outside their immediate geographic area. More than a decade after the landmark decision to limit AT&T's monopoly, the District Court for the District of Columbia remains the sole regulator of this segment of the communications industry. This Note argues that in light of industry changes, the Baby Bells' superior ability to provide consumer services, and the value of additional competition, the decree court's restriction on Bell Operating Companies should be lifted. In its place, the Author advocates that Congress enact a proposal similar to the recent House Bill 3626, which would return regulatory power to the Federal Communications Commission and allow Bell Operating Companies to contribute their significant skills to the development of the communications infrastructure.