On Jan. 1, 1984, the Bell System was broken into seven "Baby Bells" including US WEST, which provided local services. AT&T continued to provide long-distance services.
Lawsuits from MCI challenging the Bell monopoly hastened the breakup of the Bell System. MCI originally entered the intercity long-distance market using microwave transmission facilities.
Cable television networks eventually allowed cable companies to compete directly for local telephone and internet services with the Baby Bells.
Competition and cost-effective services led to rapid growth of telecommunications employment in Colorado, reaching a peak of more than 46 thousand employees in 2001. This poster was produced in the 1980s.
You will recognize many of these companies as they all provide telecommunications services to customers across Colorado.
Wireless access to unlimited information and constant contact with people around the world has moved freedom seekers to demand their rights, as recently occurred in Cairo, Egypt.
Today callers can make their thoughts fly on a busy street to an associate or friend in another country.
In spite of security concerns, many world leaders, including President Obama, look for a constant flow of information and communication through intelligent mobile devices like the Blackberry.
Cellular networks have sprung up around the world, often where landline services had never existed. In Colorado cellular transmission towers are sometimes disguised as trees.
Technological innovation now allows individuals and business to be in constant contact with you, one another and interested groups. Access to searchable information is virtually limitless. (fiber optic photo courtesy of AT&T)
Mainframe computer manufacturers, dominated by IBM, in the late 1950s started producing large computing machines for business use. Modern telephone switching equipment is all computers, like this Nortel DMS-100 tandem switch.
The size and cost of computing hardware has gone down drastically over the last 40 years while computing capacity has grown rapidly. Gordon E. Moore, co-founder of Intel company and creator of the 1965 Moore's Law, correctly forecast that computing capability would double every two years while cost remains constant through doubling of transistors on an integrated circuit.
More than 4.6 billion customers subscribe to cellular service worldwide. The pace of development of cellular networks and handsets has been breathtaking.
Glass Ceiling for Women Pushed Higher Over Time at US WEST
1972* 1981* 1990 1999
Top Five Officers 20%
Officers 10% 27%
VP/Executive Directors 1% 26% 39%
Directors 1% 14% 30% 42%
Managers 27% 37& 46% 49%
Workforce 54% 55% 54% 48%

* Includes Mountain Bell, Pacific Northwest Bell and Northwestern Bell, combined into U S WEST in 1984

The Bell System and US WEST were leaders in diversity, involving women and people of color in the leadership of the business.
Competition follows Bell breakup
Telecommunications in the United States had for decades been considered a "natural monopoly." Bell System investment seemed so large that it would be impossible for another provider to compete. In the late 1960s and 1970s MCI did just that. Lawsuits brought by MCI and the U.S. Justice Department led in 1984 to breakup of the Bell System into seven regional "Baby Bells." Competition then brought a global explosion in invention of new ways to communicate.
Call anyplace, anytime
The development of cellular networks and cell phones meant communications could take place anyplace, anytime. Using intelligent devices with internet access, you can email and text on a completely mobile basis. The world has become a smaller place.
Imagine you're in charge.
You choose among many ways for your thoughts to fly, and you send the message yourself. While many families still have traditional telephones, inventors have added other reliable, fast options with internet, digital technology, satellites, and fiber-optic telephone and cable networks. Texting, social networks and tweeting have become popular. Towers to send wireless cell-phone messages have appeared throughout Colorado for your thoughts to fly next door or around the world.
"Why do we ask 'Where are you?' when we call someone?"