The nation’s telephone service options changed forever on this date 31 years ago when AT&T complied with a Justice Department mandate to give up its local Bell System companies. The action came as the result of what has been termed the most significant antitrust suit since the breakup of Standard Oil in 1911. From the late 19th century, the virtual monopoly of what had come to be known as “Ma Bell” controlled America’s telephone equipment and lines. After the breakup, competitive forces have shaped the industry. Of America’s nearly 115 million occupied housing units by owners or renters, 112 million, or over 97 percent, have telephone service, either cellular or land-line. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at <www.census.gov>.