For those of you old enough to remember when phones actually had real bells in them, you’ll remember old Ma Bell. The American Telephone and Telegraph Company.
You’ll also remember when it was broken up into all the baby bells. And then they started to put themselves back together again. Pacific Bell got swallowed up by Southwestern Bell and became SBC, after all. Then they took over Ameritech (which was once Ohio Bell, Wisconsin Bell … most of the midwest bells) … pretty soon the whole country again as it’s eaten up its mother. (here’s some history of that)
It’s not really that bad. I have to admit in the past 20 years a long distance call has come way down in price, though the new taxes (or fees or whatever you call those) kind of balance it all out.