William L. Stone Wrong Number

ISBN 13: 9780465092772

Wrong Number

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A largely political study of how AT&T's rivals, big business users, including the petroleum industry, succeeded in persuading the regulators, the Justice Department and courts that drastic policy changes in their interests were also in the public's interest. Well documented. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

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From Publishers Weekly:

On the last day of 1983, the world's largest corporation, the American Telephone & Telegraph Co., was dismembered by federal court order, profoundly changing the U.S. telecommunications industry. Stone, professor of political science at the University of Houston, presents a comprehensive history and analysis of the growth and eventual dissolution of the Bell System. He argues that the giant AT&T as a highly regulated entity admirably fulfilled the goals of public service, agreeing with former AT&T chairman John de Butts's view that Bell provided "the widest availability of high quality communications services at the lowest cost to the entire public." Stone details AT&T's losing battles in hearings before the Federal Communications Commission against competitors like MCI and IBM. FCC rulings slowly eroded AT&T's customer base, but the fatal blow was the Justice Department's antitrust suit against the company. Stone contends that the FCC and the federal courts wrongly abandoned the old public service standards in favor of the inappropriate economic rationales of deregulation and competition. He makes a good case against the haphazard and capricious way in which AT&T's divestiture came to pass. Although this history is thorough, Stone's rejection of economic analysis is too sweeping, since U.S. telephone service remains largely universal and cheap.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Stone (political science, Univ. of Houston) has written a very thorough but not very penetrating background story on the biggest and most expensive antitrust suit ever: United States v. AT&T . Stone discusses at length the rulings of the FCC and state utility commissions, as well as the court cases which created and endorsed AT&T's guiding principles. Stone says MCI won its assault because it aligned its interests with public interest, but he does not give enough information on AT&T's weaknesses, the real strengths of the opposition, nor the political climate. This contrasts with Steve Coll's Deal of the Century: The Breakup of AT&T ( LJ 10/15/86), a dramatic telling, and Larry Kahaner's On the Line: The Men of MCI--Who Took On AT&T, Risked Everything, and Won! ( LJ 4/1/86), which gives MCI's side . -- Janice Dunham, John Jay Coll. Lib., N.Y.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Stone, Alan
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