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The splitting up of AT&T into three independent companies: AT&T, NCR and Lucent. Unlike the 1984 Divestiture, which was court ordered, Trivestiture was an internal decision that was implemented in 1996. See divestiture.


The breakup of AT&T (American Telephone & Telegraph Corporation), the largest company in the U.S. prior to 1984. By federal court order, AT&T divested itself on January 1, 1984 of its 23 operating companies, which became known as the Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs). Bell Labs was renamed AT&T Bell Labs, and its Western Electric manufacturing division became AT&T Technologies.

The demarcation point of the split was the Class 4 switching center. Except for those that handled large metropolitan regions, all Class 4 offices remained with AT&T, and all Class 5 offices went to the RBOCs. It was the switching office class hierarchy within the Bell system that made Divestiture possible, because there were clear borders between long distance and local service. See Class 4 switch, Bellcore and Trivestiture.

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