AT&T plans to buy Bell South

AT&T eats Bell South like Pac Man! In a deal reported to cost $67 Billion in stock AT&T is calling its child back home. That’s right Ma Bell lives again!

Wasn’t there a good reason to split up Ma Bell in the first place? Times certainly have changed but duopolies (AT&T and Verizon) are just as bad as monopolies. The deregulation of the telecommunications industry has been a disaster for consumers and the free flow of information. It has lead to the consolidation of corporate competitors who once provided a mediocre amount of choice, service, and pricing. Now our choices could be fewer and worse. (Choice is one of the consumers greatest powers.)

This new corporate giant could make it much harder for our Congressional representatives to resist the privatization of the Internet. A bigger company has more resources to create armies of lobbyist with pockets full of cash.

The effect upon localities could be big too. Having a large multinational corporation breathing down your neck when you try to negotiate any kind of deal for your citizens is going to be hard. Not to mention the notoriously bad customer support AT&T provides. Not just bad for individuals but bad support for towns themselves. (I snagged the graphic from MediaGeeks site. Thanks man!)

This news raises the urgency level even higher. Local communities need to create their own municipal networks. (Voice and Data) Citizens need their cities and towns to provide them equal access to municipal networks now more than ever!

To get much better analysis and links to lots of good info about this merger read MediaGeek‘s blog posts It’s Confirmed — AT&T Planning To Gobble Up BellSouth, Public Interest Be Damned and Recreating a Monopoly.