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Baby Bells

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Baby bells, or Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs), were essentially the divested local telephone service providers. Baby bells were the product of an antitrust lawsuit of 1982 entered against AT&T, which historically dominated the telephone service market in the United States. Baby bells were the direct result of Sherman Antitrust Law forcing AT&T to split itself in order to foster greater competition in the industry. Since AT&T had been nicknamed "Ma Bell", half a dozen newly formed local phone companies became known as baby bells. Although AT&T remained in operation, baby bells had become the core carriers of local telephone service. In later years, baby bells grew larger. Consequently, baby bells took over a highly dynamic telecommunications sector by building vast fiber optic networks for Internet data traffic.



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