The common term for one of the RBOCs or other local carriers that were created out of AT&T monopoly as part of the 1984 AT&T split up. After some initial activity, the Baby Bells basically started as: Since then, these companies have been bought and merged so that the following companies remain with portions of the Baby Bells:
Sources:
"TelephoneHistory.org", http://www.mbay.net/~mpoirier/thorg/lec.html
"Bell Operating Companies", http://www.bellsystemmemorial.com/bellopercomp.html

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