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The biggest telecommunications merger in U.S. history just received federal approval

The Federal Communications Commission on Friday approved AT&T Inc.’s $86 billion acquisition of BellSouth Corporation, making it the largest telecoms merger in U.S. history.

The completion of the BellSouth acquisition comes after an extensive review process which included approval by or filings with 36 states, the U.S. Department of Justice and the FCC, as well as with three foreign countries. In order to receive bipartisan FCC approval, AT&T volunteered to make broadband access increasingly affordable and available to consumers and to support public safety.

Through a combination of technologies, AT&T is committed to making broadband services available to 100 percent of residential living units in it's 22-state local-phone-service territory by the end of 2007. Additionally, AT&T will offer a stand-alone broadband service for $19.95 as well as other offers to encourage broadband adoption by those who do not currently subscribe.

The transaction also consolidates ownership and management of Cingular Wireless and Yellowpages.com. AT&T will immediately integrate and converge AT&T, BellSouth and Cingular wireless and wire line Internet Protocol networks, combine product portfolios and integrate customer care capabilities. The new company also plans to expand the reach of broadband access in remote and rural locations in the traditional BellSouth region.

"AT&T, BellSouth and Cingular have led in developing and deploying many of the communications services that customers depend on today, including broadband DSL and wireless technologies," said AT&T Chairman and CEO Edward E. Whitacre Jr. "Moving forward, AT&T will work to integrate these services for customers in the Southeast, across the country and around the world."

AT&T will launch new advertising which will begin the transition of the BellSouth brand name to AT&T in the coming days. AT&T will re-brand Cingular through a co-branded transition which is scheduled to start in 2007. Details regarding the Cingular branding will be announced at a later date. Yellowpages.com will not undergo a name or Web site address change.

AT&T's corporate headquarters will remain in San Antonio. The new AT&T Southeast (formerly BellSouth Corporation) and Cingular will continue to be based in Atlanta.

Stockholders of the former BellSouth received 1.325 shares of AT&T common stock for each common share of BellSouth. Based on AT&T's closing stock price on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2006 this exchange ratio equaled $47.04 per BellSouth common share. Since the merger was announced, the market price of AT&T shares has risen 26.83 percent and BellSouth shares have increased 48.76 percent. BellSouth's common stock and debt securities will be immediately delisted from the New York Stock Exchange in connection with the completion of the acquisition

AT&T plans to repatriate 3,000 jobs currently outsourced by BellSouth outside the United States as well as to make its disaster-recovery capabilities available to facilitate the restoration of services in the former BellSouth region in the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster.

"These commitments reflect our long history of providing consumers and businesses with the most advanced and affordable communications services," said Whitacre. "We can't wait to show people what the new AT&T can do."

The Communications Workers of America believe the merger of AT&T and BellSouth will promote increased investment and build-out of high-speed networks that are critical to the region's economic growth and the nation's position in the global economy. CWA President Larry Cohen said the merger agreement included real commitments by AT&T-BellSouth for an expanded build-out of both higher speed Internet services and DSL, an important step forward in bringing the full promise of the Internet to areas that have been passed by.

"Workers at BellSouth know that the future of communications and their own future is in the build-out of high-speed telecommunications services. This merger will help provide the resources to make this possible, and at the same time, should help create quality jobs," said Noah Savant, CWA's vice president for the Southeast and BellSouth territory. "Of course we remain concerned about the net effect on jobs within the region for frontline employees and the services we provide. We are pleased to see AT&T commitment to bringing thousands of support jobs back to the United States," Savant added.

The U.S. has fallen to 16th in the world in terms of availability and access to high-speed Internet services. The availability and benefits of the Internet should be universal, but residents in rural communities, low-income urban areas and other communities don't have high-speed access and are at a growing disadvantage.

High-tech innovation and job growth, advances in telemedicine, distance learning, improving public safety and e-government all are possible and in fact routine in much of the world. In the United States, however, current speed standards are not sufficient to support these kinds of services, Larry Cohen said. "The build-out of true high-speed networks requires a huge investment of tens of billions of dollars and the AT&T-BellSouth merger will begin to provide the resources to do this," he added. Cohen also stressed that CWA strongly supports an open Internet "where consumers can go where they want, when they want. Nothing should be done to degrade or block access to websites," he said.



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RE: Thank God for this merger
By creathir on 1/2/2007 1:25:27 PM , Rating: 2
Ah yes... lets go the wealth distribution route. Charge more for those who have more, and less for those who have less.
This model has always worked in the past... socialism was a great success, right?

- Creathir


RE: Thank God for this merger
By Hydrofirex on 1/2/2007 3:45:09 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, wether you want to call anything we've seen in a country/government "socialism" is a very, very debatable issue. I would argue that the US is infinitely more socialized than any communist nation.

Further, yes, it actually has been pretty successful. Socialized programs today provide health care and food for virtually all children, provide college educations to many more, and in more civilized countries allow it's citizens to receive medical treatment without having to worry that they can't afford it.

You're negative views of socialism are stereotypically American. Which is highly ironic given we're still one of the more socialized countries.

Further, read the post you're replying to again. This person is NOT arguing for socializing the telecommunications industry. They are in fact arguing, using the idea of a socialized telco system as a metaphor, for how unfair it would be to charge people more than others for a generic service like internet access.

Fundamentally, I agree. We should be weary of tiering bandwidth charges like that, and maybe we, the people, should consider subsidizing the internet backbone so that we, the people, maintain more control of it. We're the ones benefiting from it after all.

HfX


RE: Thank God for this merger
By masher2 (blog) on 1/2/2007 4:16:37 PM , Rating: 2
> "I would argue that the US is infinitely more socialized than any communist nation."

You'd argue unsucessfully, however. There are some socialistic aspects to the US economic system. However, they don't even come close to a state-run economy you might find in China, Cuba, most of the FSU nations, or similar places.


RE: Thank God for this merger
By creathir on 1/2/07, Rating: 0
RE: Thank God for this merger
By Xenoid on 1/2/2007 6:42:51 PM , Rating: 1
Left-wing does not mean red commie Cuba/Russia/China and "anti-American". Is Europe failing? Is Canada failing?

Besides most would argue that anything un-American would just mean less fattening.


RE: Thank God for this merger
By TheLiberal on 1/3/2007 5:55:38 AM , Rating: 2
Don't let creathir bother you, he and a couple of the other trolls here are notorious for their ignorance. He never knows what he's talking about, and likely never will.


RE: Thank God for this merger
By captchaos2 on 1/3/07, Rating: -1
RE: Thank God for this merger
By bdot on 1/3/2007 10:33:48 AM , Rating: 3
Im going to see the doctor tommorw, and i dont pay for Health Insurance... Yup its a mess..


RE: Thank God for this merger
By rushfan2006 on 1/3/2007 11:43:55 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Im going to see the doctor tommorw, and i dont pay for Health Insurance... Yup its a mess..


As timing would have it for this topic to be mentioned a friend of mine, who is Canadian (has lived their his entire live -- Ontario) and I were online last night (we both play World of Warcraft) and asking how each other felt....knowing that we were both sick. I'm in the US btw.

Anyway enough backstory..the point being he told me he waited 6 hours to see a doctor, astonished at this I said "dude what's up with that"...he replies back, "It's always like that up here..." We talked more about it and he mentioned the level of care is "ok"....not great, not even good...just "ok".

Now here yeah I pay $100 monthly from my paycheck for my insurance program with my employer...but yesterday - I went to a nice quite, doctor's office arrived at 12:15 for a 12:30 appointment, I saw the doctor at 12:35 - was out at 1:05. He had time to ask how I'm doing now plus some on-going medical problems I've had in the past..recommended some meds, gave me some information packets, free samples of my meds to hold me over and for another health issue wrote up a script and called in an appointment for me with that doctor.

So yeah..."free" healthcare -vs- $100 a month from my pocket healthcare....I'll take the latter for the quality and speed if nothing else.


RE: Thank God for this merger
By goz314 on 1/3/2007 12:34:55 PM , Rating: 3
Your out of pocket cost for health insurance is but a small part of the overall cost of individual healthcare in the United States. Your employer most likely pays 3 times that amount in premiums for you to enjoy your accustomed level of service. These hidden premium costs + copays + prescription drug costs all add up you know. So, before exclaiming that the US system is so much better than all of the others out there please consider that you get what you pay for -or in this case, what your employer pays for.


RE: Thank God for this merger
By masher2 (blog) on 1/3/2007 12:50:38 PM , Rating: 1
> "Your out of pocket cost for health insurance is but a small part of the overall cost of individual healthcare in the United States"

Right..just like Canadians really DO pay for their "free" healthcare. The full costs are hidden in both cases. And those Canadians who can afford to, come to the US or elsewhere for quality care...because the quality of service just isn't there.


RE: Thank God for this merger
By rushfan2006 on 1/3/07, Rating: 0
RE: Thank God for this merger
By Vinin on 1/3/2007 12:43:54 PM , Rating: 3
What about the millions of Americans that can not afford health insurance? They sit for hours at free clinics just waiting for a chance to see a doctor and if the clinic happens to close down early, no luck. Everyone having health insurance, even if it takes 6 hours to get to a doctor, is better than only 50% having the "luxury" of going to a doctor.


RE: Thank God for this merger
By masher2 (blog) on 1/3/2007 1:06:42 PM , Rating: 1
> "What about the millions of Americans that can not afford health insurance? They sit for hours at free clinics... "

So you want to replace that with a system where everyone sits for hours at free clinics? No thanks.


RE: Thank God for this merger
By rushfan2006 on 1/3/2007 2:28:51 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
What about the millions of Americans that can not afford health insurance? They sit for hours at free clinics just waiting for a chance to see a doctor and if the clinic happens to close down early, no luck. Everyone having health insurance, even if it takes 6 hours to get to a doctor, is better than only 50% having the "luxury" of going to a doctor.


First health insurance is expensive, quality health care is expensive that is one thing that everyone should be able to agree on. The quality of the socialist healthcare isn't on par to the quality of the non-socialist programs...that's my biggest argument. In the end who the hell cares if you see a doctor for your illusion of "free" (besides its not really free anyway)...if the treatment is sub-par to cure the condition, solve the medical problem. Add to this the huge wait times....I don't know , yet I hope, that in these programs people with real medical emergencies get pushed to the front of the line.

There are millions of Americans that can't not afford health insurance this is no doubt. But there are also many programs in the US that are there for dire emergency health care. Especially for kids. For example in the state of PA there is a program called CHIP (Children Health Insurance Program)....essentially its "free" health insurance for children in households that can't afford health insurance for children. Other states have similar programs in place or are in the works to follow suit.

But at the same time while you'd love to argue the point of people in the US that can't afford health care, I say before we give attention to that issue -- education, job training and more emphasis in staying in school so these millions of americans have the qualifications to A) Get a job that provides medical benefits or B) at least earn the wage to pay for medical plans on the side.

The point is...yes health insurance costs are insane, but to boldly say the people who need health care in the us can't get it is a lie. It's also one of the reasons why health care is so expensive in this country, the programs that provide it as "no cost" to you -- have to be paid for some way don't they?

All the critical needs "groups" have programs for health care -- children (yes), seniors (yes), people with disabilities (yes).....further more if you want to argue "well what about when I need to see a family doctor about a cold" there are programs even for that...costing as little as $40 a month. They aren't insurance but they reduce your medical bills by 40-70% at least.

My attitude is - I can't stand the lay down "whoa as me" excuse when the issue is about making somethign better for yourself (jobs/education) or healthcare.



RE: Thank God for this merger
By masher2 (blog) on 1/3/2007 3:24:47 PM , Rating: 1
> "My attitude is - I can't stand the lay down "whoa as me" excuse..."

Ahem...that's "woe is me". :p


RE: Thank God for this merger
By rushfan2006 on 1/3/2007 4:16:48 PM , Rating: 1
LMAO.....I don't know what drugs I was on when I did that one...

thanks for the correction. ;)



RE: Thank God for this merger
By Pythias on 1/9/2007 1:34:43 PM , Rating: 1
I work with a transplanted Canadian who moved down here because his wife had cancer and there was an eight month wait to see an oncologist.

As to rushfan's employer subsidizing the cost of his health care as part of his salary package, I'd say that's score one for the private sector. Yay competition!


RE: Thank God for this merger
By creathir on 1/3/2007 9:05:00 AM , Rating: 1
Just because our political views differ from your own does not make us "trolls"
I have been an active member of the comment section of Anandtech/Dailytech for YEARS.
Some of the others have been here just as long as well.

As far as knowing what we talk about, that is your opinion, and you are welcome to it, but from our perspective, it is the other way around.

- Creathir


RE: Thank God for this merger
By masher2 (blog) on 1/3/2007 10:06:32 AM , Rating: 1
Someone with a grand total of two posts-- both of them insulting-- labels us trolls? Truth is stranger than fiction.


RE: Thank God for this merger
By rushfan2006 on 1/3/2007 11:48:46 AM , Rating: 2
So in other words you agree with wealth distribution systems....yeah "since they can afford more - tax them more, make them pay more"......LOL..

And you have the audacity to say that other folks don't know what they are talking about?

Amazing....simply amazing....


RE: Thank God for this merger
By Exodus28 on 1/2/2007 9:54:00 PM , Rating: 3
Pure Socialism may not work, the jury is still out on that. But all your examples are of countries that are/were closer to dictatorships and totalitarianism (Hitler, Stalin, Castro et al).
quote:
And China? I believe they are killing their DOGS now... (just an example of more state run BS)

How that relates to socialism I have no idea. In China dogs are seen as a food resource. They don't have the 'pets' hang up like other countries do.
Hell, here in Oz some people eat kangaroo without a second thought. Roo's are on our coat of arms and an international symbol for Oz. Should we blame socialism for that too?



RE: Thank God for this merger
By ScythedBlade on 1/2/2007 10:45:50 PM , Rating: 1
According to my AP classes, Socialism CAN work, but your supposed to go from capitalism before socialism. China seems to be doing this in reverse from socialism to capitalism ... and probably back to socialism.


RE: Thank God for this merger
By AxemanFU on 1/3/2007 10:19:16 AM , Rating: 1
It sounds like they are teaching you straight from Marx. It's probably not a bad idea from the perspective of the teacher, after all the teacher's unions have largely bought into the marxist socio-economic construct, though suprisingly many individual union members don't support such ideas when you ask them individually.

Marx also acknowledges that socialism and communism are ultimately unsustainable due to lack of incentive, unless that incentive is to stay alive at the behest of a totalitarian or authoritarian controlling power, IE a big government telling you how to live day to day to keep you working "for the common good".

It's not for me, that's for sure. Don't just buy the lines your teacher gives you in highschool. After all, they are mostly college of education grads with very simplistic college degrees not much more advanced than a good highschool education with respect to the fundamentals. (I have a TON of teachers in my family, they'll tell you the same thing.) Ask questions, and debate, and do your own research into politcs, economics, and social systems. It makes it better for the entire class. Just don't be irreverent while doing it.


By ScythedBlade on 1/4/2007 5:59:36 AM , Rating: 2
I think Japan and Britan are already on a socialist type of governthough, neh?


RE: Thank God for this merger
By bldckstark on 1/8/2007 12:58:04 PM , Rating: 2
You need to talk to those relatives a little more. The indecent drivel they spread as learning in the schools is regulated by the state. They are teaching what is legislated for them to teach. My wife teaches. I actually talk to her about it from time to time so I know that the subjects that she teaches, AND WHAT SHE TEACHES IN THAT SUBJECT, are specifically called out to be taught by law. She can't teach trigonometry when she is teaching algebra, she can't even teach differential algebraic equations when she is teaching advanced algebra because the content of the course is defined for her by the state. Then, the students must pass ignorantly devised tests designed to show "adequate yearly progress" so that they can continue to get federal funding and keep their jobs. This group of kids tested includes the persons with special needs, i.e. learning disabilities, emotionally/mentally handicapped; which drags down the overall average. If a class happens to have too many persons with disadvantages, the school corporation can be taken over by the government and the teachers fired, through no fault of their own. Not only that but if a school corporation happens to have all 100% of their kids pass for a few years, they no longer meet the definition of adequate yearly progress, and they can be taken over and fired for that too. This is what we call the NCLBA. No Child Left Behind Act. Think about it.

There is a lot of bad stuff going on in our school system and this is just the tip of the iceberg.


RE: Thank God for this merger
By iNGEN on 1/4/2007 12:59:40 PM , Rating: 2
You might want to review the premise of "The Great Leap Forward" and Stalin's predictions for it's failure as he attempted to influence Mao. Stalin's predictions have been remarkably accurate.

Consequentially, in an indirect way, the PRC will likely sooner provide to their citizens the kind of competition driven communication services this merger should help bring about in the US. The PRC will do this not because socialism succeeded there, but because it is and has failed.


RE: Thank God for this merger
By SacredFist on 1/26/2007 9:05:34 AM , Rating: 2
Dude ... he's right. Wiki it


RE: Thank God for this merger
By Myrandex on 1/3/2007 3:52:29 PM , Rating: 2
wtg information. I don't know where you get that from. Plenty of chinese have dogs as pets and are upset about the legislation and are going to different lengths to hide their multiple pets (or large dogs). Pets exist all over the world, not just like the U.S. or Europe. Also just anout any government system can work if people act as they are supposed to in the system. The designers don't think about the negative aspects (such as people not working to their potential in a communist country). Of course socialism could work, but it would involve people working as hard as they can for the benefit of all...

I for one don't want to be taxed a lot just so the local worthly drug head falls from his balcony while high and breaks him arm goes to the doctor and receives free medical treatment. I support helping out some of the lower income families as long as they are working for it. I don't want to support some drunk that beats their many children which they have just for state income checks. I do want to support the family that works their asses off just so they can put food on the table and send their children to school.


RE: Thank God for this merger
By Tsuwamono on 1/3/2007 3:53:48 PM , Rating: 1
Socialism does work dumbass... look at Canada, Denmark, Sweden, and basicly 80% of Europe.

Dumbass.


RE: Thank God for this merger
By Ringold on 1/3/2007 4:17:05 PM , Rating: 1
Okay. Lets look.

Canada. Decent GDP growth, thanks largely to natural resources, and a medical system set to collapse in terms of quality thanks to doctors being paid the same as experienced union factory workers and auto mechanics.

Europe. Growth-rate and unemployment disaster with a discontent and growing immigrant muslim population. Not hard to see that if nothing changes, 10 to 20 years down the road could see a very violent Europe.

Sweden. 25% hidden unemployment due to lack of incentive to work (as quoted directly from leading economists within the Swedish government as well as from the PM's cabinet)

If you call that 'working', then the success of Hong Kong in its pure capitalism would probably make you wet yourself.

Oh god, the irony though. Talking about socialism in the comments section of a newly ordained oligopolist. Beautiful. :)


RE: Thank God for this merger
By knipfty on 1/4/2007 5:47:40 PM , Rating: 2
Only if you accept a lower standard of living and 10% unemployment! The average "poor" person in the US has more living space than the average European (1100sq ft vs 800 sq ft). Sign me up for socialism any day...


RE: Thank God for this merger
By Christopher1 on 1/3/2007 5:46:18 PM , Rating: 2
The USSR didn't work because they didn't hold to all the tenets of communism. They were called 'communists' but that was only in name.

They were close to elitist systems that have existed through time: Rome, Greece, etc.

If they would have gone with the CANON of communism, i.e. everyone gets an EQUAL share of everything contingent on them working....... it would have worked! However, they did not do that at all.

Second, it was a close shave that the United States was the one who came out on the top in the battle between 'communism' and democracy (which American really do not have, a true democracy allows the people to vote on ALL decisions made on a daily basis!).


RE: Thank God for this merger
By masher2 (blog) on 1/3/2007 6:29:41 PM , Rating: 3
> "The USSR didn't work because they didn't hold to all the tenets of communism..."

No, but they held true to Socialism...which is what we were discussing in the first place.

> "Second, it was a close shave that the United States was the one who came out on the top in the battle between 'communism' and democracy "

It really wasn't that close. The larger the USSR grew, the more it had to prop up the economies of its satellite nations by cannibalizing its own economy. It's just not a stable system in the long run, which explains why it fell apart without the need for military intervention.

> "(which American really do not have, a true democracy allows the people to vote on ALL decisions made on a daily basis!). "

Right, we have a republic, a system far superior to democracy. A fact the Founding Fathers understood well. Too bad most people today don't realize that also.


RE: Thank God for this merger
By creathir on 1/3/2007 10:38:40 PM , Rating: 2
Watch the use of that R word...
Constitutional Republic to be EXACT...
How amazingly smart were the Founding Fathers…
- Creathir


RE: Thank God for this merger
By iNGEN on 1/4/2007 1:06:56 PM , Rating: 2
KUDOS!


RE: Thank God for this merger
By Chaser on 1/2/2007 11:25:04 PM , Rating: 1
All typical "good intention" social programs that sound great on paper. Its fun doing good things with other people's money isn't it?

Ask the Janitor that works full time and pays taxes for 30 years of his life if its a good thing his incomepaid for a college education.


RE: Thank God for this merger
By UNCjigga on 1/5/2007 5:16:06 PM , Rating: 2
P&N is thatta..<points left, sees no forum menu>...umm...nevermind...


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