I just finished Part 10. I was very interested in the part about the breakup of Bell. I was hoping there would be more on that. If it’s covered later or if you can direct me to an answer elsewhere instead of explaining it here, that would be great.
I recall that when I first started paying for my own phone in the late 1970s, it routinely cost a couple of dollars just to connect on a long-distance call, regardless of how long I talked. If the forced breakup of the company was not helpful, how do I explain to others why my LD now costs me 4 1/2 cents a minute, with no minimum connection fee? I’m assuming government regulations that prohibited other companies from competing on LD were repealed?
Any other links or comments on how land-line long distance works now would be appreciated. I’m assuming entrepreneurs have created a complex system of leases and such that allow me to choose from among many long distance companies when there is still just one phone line going to my house. Am I right in thinking that these voluntary contracts might be a model for the privatization of other “long thin things” like roads? Thank you.
In the old days, AT&T was a national, regulated monopoly. Its monopoly position was created and maintained by the government. The government authorized its connection charge. Since then the government created and maintained regional, regulated monopolies in the phone market. What has diminished the power of the government monopolies to charge long-distance connection fees has been the cell phone revolution.
Take a look at Tom DiLorenzo’s article on natural monopoly: