Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


On January 1, 1984, AT&T was divested of its exchange telecommunications operations which were then divided among seven Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs). The authors contend that the divestiture of AT&T and the Modification of Final Judgment (MFJ) appended thereto have created an anticompetitive marketplace through the imposition of line-of-business restrictions which in effect prevent the RBOCs from competing with AT&T. Moreover, the MFJ disregarded contemporaneous pro-competitive regulatory developments propagated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which undercut the factual premises underpinning the line-of-business restrictions. The authors argue that the MFJ vests in the Department of Justice and the United States District Court for the District of Columbia regulatory and policymaking powers which have been expressly granted by statute to the FCC, thus creating a needlessly bifurcated and duplicative regulatory framework.