Monday, May 31, 2004

Bells loosen their grip

Bells loosen their grip | CNET

By Ben Charny
Staff Writer, CNET

Some local phone companies are deciding that they don't need to sell local phone service anymore to some customers--a stunning reversal for an industry reeling from defections to cellular and Internet phone services.

Verizon Communications this week confirmed that it has begun letting some broadband customers drop local phone service without forcing them to abandon the company's DSL (digital subscriber line) plan. The move follows a similar announcement in February by Qwest Communications International and points to the fast-approaching day when the local phone line is just one more item on an a la carte telecommunications menu.

'Things are starting to change,' Gartner analyst Tole Hart said. 'There's cell phone substitution, people are dropping their second lines, and there's more competition. It adds up.'


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