U S West's Gauntlet Won't Just Lie There

Rivals will be scrambling for their own opportunities

It was only a matter of time, once telecommunications reform was passed, before companies started breaching the Berlin Wall that has kept them from jointly offering cable TV and local and long-distance phone service. But U S West Inc. waited a mere 19 days after President Clinton signed the historic Telecommunications Act of 1996. On Feb. 27, the Denver-based cowboy of the seven Baby Bells announced it will acquire Continental Cablevision Inc., the nation's third-largest cable-TV operator, for $10.8 billion--and in three years hopes to use those cable networks to offer local phone service across the nation.

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