BellSouth Corp. on Wednesday announced signing a long-term commercial agreement with AT&T Corp. to open its local phone network to Old Ma Bell throughout its nine-state territory in the Southeast.
Atlanta-based BellSouth says it has negotiated more than 100 commercial agreements governing the terms under which competitors can access its voice network.
AT&T began retreating from the residential market over the summer, but it still provides local phone service to consumers over the networks controlled by BellSouth and the other regional Bells.
Federal regulators have eliminated rules that mandated wholesale access to the networks controlled by the four regional phone companies: BellSouth, Qwest Communications International Inc., SBC Communications Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc.
SBC, which owns Cingular Wireless along with BellSouth, plans to acquire AT&T.