Communications: Ma Bell & Her Friends

When it comes to confrontations with Big Business, Washington is scarcely shy. Yet last week, marshaling a full-time staff of 20 to do battle against the U.S.'s biggest utility, the Federal Communications Commission sounded downright diffident—and with good reason.

The FCC's target, the American Telephone & Telegraph Co., is not merely the world's largest corporation but traditionally the bluest of blue-chip investments. The Bell System has the most stockholders (2.8 million), the most shares of stock outstanding (530 million), and the highest total stock value ($31 billion) of any firm listed on any exchange. So many of those shares are...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!