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New directions for a `national resource¿: Bell Labs has split up, but the traditional commitment remains, both to the telephone network and to research

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1 Author(s)
Paul Wallich ; IEEE Spectrum, New York, NY, USA

There have been some fundamental changes at both AT&T Bell Labs. and Bellcore since divestiture. Many of those changes stem from the fact that neither organization has the old Bell Telephone Labs. mandate to design, develop, and move into manufacturing equipment for providing end-to-end connections in a single, unified telephone network. One the one hand, AT&T has lost its monopoly on local service, and on the other, the local operating companies are forbidden to manufacture or sell their own equipment. Bellcore, the largest research and engineering consortium in the US, is owned jointly by the operating companies and has no connection with AT&T. The goals of Bell Labs. and Bellcore in the aftermath of divestiture are outlined. It is noted that at Bell Labs. there is an increased emphasis on developing commercial applications of research work. The increase in turnover at Bell Labs that has occurred since divestiture is also discussed.

Published in:

IEEE Spectrum  (Volume:22 ,  Issue: 11 )