Kingsbury Commitment

The Kingsbury Commitment of 1913 was an out-of-court settlement of the government's antitrust challenge of AT&T's growing vertical monopoly over the phone industry.wikipedia
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AT&T Corporation

AT&TAmerican Telephone and Telegraph CompanyAmerican Telephone & Telegraph
The Kingsbury Commitment of 1913 was an out-of-court settlement of the government's antitrust challenge of AT&T's growing vertical monopoly over the phone industry.
Anxious to avoid action from government antitrust suits, AT&T and the federal government entered into an agreement known as the Kingsbury Commitment.

Theodore Newton Vail

Theodore VailTheodore N. Vail
Under Theodore N. Vail from 1907, AT&T had bought Bell-associated companies and organized them into new hierarchies.
In 1913 he oversaw the Kingsbury Commitment that led to a more open system for connection.

Universal service

Universal service obligationuniversal postal service
Vail stated that there should be "one policy, one system [AT&T's] and universal service, no collection of separate companies could give the public the service that [the] Bell... system could give."
Eventually, Vail prevailed in his views, first through state laws and ultimately through the Kingsbury Commitment of 1913, where AT&T agreed to several measures, including interconnection with non-competing independent phone companies, to avoid antitrust action, thus formalizing the Bell System monopoly.

Bell System

Bell Operating CompanyBell Operating CompaniesBell Telephone
These battles resulted a large amount of antitrust litigation and ultimately led to the 1982 breakup of the Bell System.
In 1913, the federal government challenged the Bell System's growing monopoly over the phone system under AT&T ownership in an anti-trust suit, leading to the Kingsbury Commitment.

Willis Graham Act

Willis-Graham Act
The Willis Graham Act allowed AT&T to begin acquiring more local telephone systems, with the genial oversight of the Interstate Commerce Commission.
This repealed the Kingsbury Commitment, allowing AT&T to merge with or acquire competing telephone companies if the ICC approved.

Vertical integration

vertically integratedvertically-integratedvertically integrate
The Kingsbury Commitment of 1913 was an out-of-court settlement of the government's antitrust challenge of AT&T's growing vertical monopoly over the phone industry.

Interconnection

interconnectinterconnectivityinterconnected
In return for the government's agreement not to pursue its case against AT&T as a monopolist, AT&T agreed to divest the controlling interest it had acquired in the Western Union telegraph company, and to allow non-competing independent telephone companies to interconnect with the AT&T long distance network.

Western Union

Western Union Telegraph CompanyAmerican Telegraph CompanyWestern Union Telegraph
AT&T had also acquired many of the independents, and bought control of Western Union, giving it a monopolistic position in both telephone and telegraph communication.

Long-distance calling

long distancelong-distancelong distance call
A key strategy was to refuse to connect its long distance network — technologically, by far the finest and most extensive in the land — with local independent carriers.

United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division

Antitrust DivisionU.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust DivisionU.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division
AT&T's strategies prompted complaints and attracted the attention of the Justice Department.

Competition law

antitrustantitrust lawanti-trust
Faced with a government investigation for antitrust violations, AT&T entered into negotiations.

Interstate Commerce Commission

ICCInterstate Commerce CommitteeUnited States Interstate Commerce Commission
The Willis Graham Act allowed AT&T to begin acquiring more local telephone systems, with the genial oversight of the Interstate Commerce Commission. In the Kingsbury Commitment, actually a letter from AT&T Vice President Nathan Kingsbury of December 19, AT&T agreed with the Attorney General to divest itself of Western Union, to provide long distance services to independent exchanges under certain conditions and to refrain from acquisitions if the Interstate Commerce Commission objected.

Federal Communications Commission

FCCU.S. Federal Communications CommissionFederal Communications Commission (FCC)
With the creation of the Federal Communications Commission in 1934, the government regulated the rates charged by AT&T.

World War I

First World WarGreat WarWorld War One
The entire network was nationalized during World War I from June 1918 to July 1919.

Carterfone

Carterfone decisionCarterphoneCarterphone decision
In 1968, FCC regulators intervened when the Bell System tried to prevent a mobile communications system, the Carterfone, from connecting to telephone lines.

Breakup of the Bell System

Bell System divestiturebreakup of AT&TAT&T divestiture
These battles resulted a large amount of antitrust litigation and ultimately led to the 1982 breakup of the Bell System.

Regional Bell Operating Company

Regional Bell Operating CompaniesBaby BellBaby Bells
In 1982, AT&T and the Justice Department agreed on tentative terms for settlement of antitrust suit filed against AT&T in 1974, under which AT&T divested itself of its local telephone operations, which became known as the "Baby Bells."

United States Telecom Association

USTelecomU.S. Telecom AssociationUnited States Independent Telephone Association

John Brooks (writer)

John BrooksBrooks, John
* John Brooks (1976) Telephone: The First Hundred Years, p 136, Harper & Row ISBN: 0-06-010540-2.

Harper (publisher)

Harper & RowHarper & BrothersHarper
* John Brooks (1976) Telephone: The First Hundred Years, p 136, Harper & Row ISBN: 0-06-010540-2.

AT&T

AT&T Inc.Southwestern Bell CorporationAT&T Latin America
AT&T established a network of subsidiaries in the United States and Canada that held a phone service monopoly, authorized by government authorities with the Kingsbury Commitment, throughout most of the twentieth century.

History of AT&T

SBC CommunicationsSBCAmerican Telephone and Telegraph Company
To avoid antitrust action, in a deal with the government, Vail agreed to the Kingsbury Commitment of 1913.