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RBOCs Zap Newspapers

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

RBOCs Zap Newspapers

Article excerpt

RBOCs zap newspapers

Newspapers are stifling competition and depriving U.S. citizens of new information services, according to the latest ad campaign by seven phone companies.

In full-page ads in the Washington Post and New York Times Oct. 1, the seven regional Bell operating companies (RBOCs) are seeking public support for a court decision, which is on hold pending appeal, that allows the phone companies to provide information services.

Picturing a radio, television and computer, the ad says, "First, they tried to stop radio. Then they tried to stop cable television. And now they're trying to stop the benefits of the information age. Once again America's largest newspapers are trying to stifle competition and limit individual choice."

The Bell companies, which are government-regulated monopolies, say they could provide services that are available in France, Germany and Japan, but newspapers "are fighting to deny them to the America people."

Since the breakup of AT&T, the regional phone companies have been banned from providing information over their own phone lines because of the potential they would unfairly stifle other information providers and dominate the business. …

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