Before the slplit there was one phone company and we had to pay their rate or don't get a phone. With two there is competition and with VoIP there is alternative technologies breaking the horizon. Verizon is installing fibre to the customers home and starting to compete in cable TV. They are planning to use their newly acquired MCI network to get all kinds of digital content to all their subscribers (enterprise, residential or cellular). I'm sure ATT will follow a similar path. The only loosers are those of us in the Qwest states. Who will by them? I guess Qwest has too miles of copper and too few subscribers.