Federal Internet Law & Policy
An Educational Project

AT&T Post Divestiture
1984 - Present
Dont be a FOOL; The Law is Not DIY


2017 AT&T / TW Telecom   FCC chair doesn't expect to review AT&T-Time Warner merger, The Hill March 2017
2014 AT&T/DirecTV Approved
  • Fiber Buildout
  • Gigabit service to Erate recipients
  • Non-Discriminatory Usage-Based Practices (Data Caps)
  • Internet Interconnection
  • Discounted broadand service for low income students
  • Compliance Officer
2011 AT&T / T Mobile Blocked  
2007 AT&T BellSouth Approved
  • Reparation of jobs to U.S.
  • Promoting accessibility to broadband services
  • Statement on Video Roll-Out Intentions
  • Public Safety, Disaster Recovery
  • Service to Customers with Disabilities
  • UNEs
  • Reducing Transaction Costs Associated with (Telecommunications) Interconnect Agreements
  • Special Access
  • Transit (telecommunications) Service:
  • ADSL Service
  • Network Neutrality: "Effective on the Merger Closing Date, and continuing for 30 months thereafter, AT&T/BellSouth will conduct business in a manner that comports with the principles set forth in the Commission’s Policy Statement, issued September 23, 2005 (FCC 05-151). "
  • Internet Backbone: Merger approved with conditions: must post peering policies; must maintain peering interconnections
  • Forbearance:
  • Wireless
  • Divestiture of Facilities
  • Tunney Act
  • Certification
2005 SBC / AT&T Approved
  • SBC acquires AT&T, rebrands itself as "AT&T"
2004 AT&T Wireless / Cingular   AT&T Wireless acquired by Cingular [The New AT&T 2005]
2002 AT&T Broadband / Comcast Approved
  • AT&T's Internet over Cable Broadband Service sold to Comcast
2001 AT&T / Excite @Home Approved  
2000 AT&T / Mediaone Approved
2000 CERFNet   AT&T acquired CERFNet
1999 AT&T / IBM Approved AT&T acquired the IBM Internet backbone
1998 AT&T / TCI Approved
  • Open Access conditions rejected
  • AT&T long distance embarks on entering the local network service market
1995 Western Electric   AT&T spins off Western Electric, which becomes Lucent.
1994 McGraw Cellular Approved AT&T acquires McGraw Cellular to become AT&T Wireless.
1984 Break up of the Bell System J Greene AT&T is broken up into AT&T long distance and the Baby Bells.
1956 Consent Decree   Despite DOJ's attempts, AT&T is not required to divest itself of Western Electric
1909 AT&T / Western Union   AT&T acquires former rival Western Union ~ AT&T will divest itself of Western Union pursuant to the 1913 Kingsbury Commitment
1902 Kellogg Switchboard & Supply Company Set Aside AT&T acquired rival equipment manufacturer Kellogg Switchboard & Supply Company; merger was set aside seven years later.
1899 American Bell / AT&T Approved
  • AT&T (NY) acquires American Bell (MA) and becomes the parent company
1882 AT&T / Western Electric   AT&T acquires rival Western Electric from Western Union
1877 Bell Telephone Formed  


Antitrust: Divestiture 1984

1984 "AT&T reduces long distance rates by 6.4 percent, as non-traffic sensitive costs begin moving from rates to local-company administered access charges. This was the first in a series of rate reductions over the next six years that totaled approximately forty percent." [AT&T: History: Milestones]




1995: FCC declares AT&T non dominant in the long distance market (long distance market is effectively competitive). 

1996: Telecommunications Act of 1996 allows BOCs to enter the long distance market if they can demonstrate to the FCC that their local markets are competitive.

1998 acquired TCI; creates AT&T Broadband service


2000 acquired CERFNET



2005 acquired by SBC and renamed AT&T

2006 acquired Bell South


2014 PSTN Transition Trials

2015 AT&T acquires DirecTV


AT&T Inc. and DIRECTV, 30 FCC Rcd 9131 MB Docket No. 14-90 (filed June 11, 2014)




DHS Enhanced Cybersecurity Services (ECS)

AT&T is a Communications Service Provider accredited to provide ECS. [DHS ECS]


"On May 25, 2010, according to press reports, a service outage involving the AT&T U-Verse platform involved a server failure that impacted U-Verse interconnected VoIP service in AT&T’s entire 22-state local phone service area serving approximately 1.15 million customers. The reports indicate that the outage lasted for several hours. It remains unclear how many subscribers were unable to reach 9-1-1 and for how long."


Interconnection / Backbones


Interconnection Negotiations / Disputes


  • AT&T / DirecTV Merger Order at 218 (2015) "In addition, on June 18, 2015, GTT Communications, Inc. (“GTT”) and AT&T entered into a long-term interconnection agreement to provide added capacity and new interconnection points for their IP networks" citing Letter from Maureen R Jeffreys, Counsel to AT&T, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC, MB Docket No. 14-90, at 1 & Exhibit 75.2.28 (filed June 24, 2015)

Level 3

  • Level 3 Communications, Level 3 and AT&T Enter Into Interconnection Agreement (press release), May 11, 2015 (Level 3’s Chief Marketing Officer stated “[t]his agreement will benefit Level 3’s and AT&T’s customers for years to come. With customer needs at the forefront, you enable a growing, secure and resilient interconnection environment.” AT&T’s interconnection agreement with Level 3 “will result in improved efficiency of traffic exchange, and the additional capacity and new interconnection locations between the networks will allow customers to continue to experience high-quality performance and network reliability.”)

Cogent (note that Netflix was Cogent's customer during this time)


  • Victor Lickerson, Netflix is Paying AT&T to Make Movies Stream Faster, TIME (July 30, 2014)
  • Alex Wilhelm, Netflix and AT&T Sign Peering Agreement, Techcrunch (Jul 29, 2014)
  • Andy Fixmer, Netflix Signs Peering Deal with AT&T to Reduce Buffering, Mashable (July 29, 2014);
  • Karl Bode, Netflix CDN Partners Soar in Latest Netflix ISP Rankings, DSLReports (Feb. 12, 2013);
  • Jon Brodkin, Netflix users on Verizon and AT&T get raw deal, have little reason for hope, Ars Technica (Mar. 29, 2014).
  • Robert Sorokanich, Netflix Lets People Know When Bad Streaming is the ISPs Fault, GIZMODO (June 4, 2014).
  • Netflix Comments, Dkt. 14-90, at 23 (discussing degraded Netflix service as a result of interconnection dispute)
  • Letter from John M. Ryan, Chief Legal Officer, Level 3, to James W. Cicconi, Senior Executive Vice President, AT&T, February 24, 2011 "Many people - some regulators included - mistakenly believe that when a subscriber connects to a web site, application or content on the Internet, the packets for that information exchange follow a number of different paths through the Internet. As you know, the truth is that for any particular connection between an end subscriber and another point on the Internet, the packets between the subscriber's computer and the other endpoint in the Internet will follow the same path until there is a "hard failure" - meaning that the connection along that path is taken out of service. The routers within the Internet will not automatically route around congestion. If an interconnection point within the Internet becomes congested, the routers will continue to route packets along the same path. As the interconnection capacity congests, the routers cannot get the packets processed and delivered and the routers will delay packets or, when congestion is more severe, randomly discard packets. These delays and random "packet losses" affect all services that are passing through the congested point. Most Internet routers are not programmed to evaluate packets to determine which packets should be dropped during periods of congestion; as a result, Internet packets of all types are potentially impacted by congested interconnection, and the experience of the subscriber is degraded."








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