Ever since the U.S. government broke up AT&T’s telecom monopoly, the company has been reassembling itself, like bits of liquid metal coming
together to reform the T-1000 in “Terminator 2.” Much of the country’s local landline service is now provided by a reconstituted AT&T, while in the
Northeast that role is filled by Verizon. It’s easy to forget about Qwest, formerly US West, which takes the Rockies as its territory. But even people
who can smugly name all the Baby Bells (remember Nynex? Good times!) may not know that, while the Qwest brand name survives in many markets,
it no longer exists as an independent company. In April 2010, it was acquired by CenturyTel, which was descended from a tiny Louisiana local
exchange. Qwest was only the last of a series of telecom companies it had swallowed up over the years; now calling itself CenturyLink, it’s the third-
largest telecommunications company in the country. CenturyLink has over $7 billion in annual revenue, and is still based in Louisiana. Pictured:
Monroe, La., now has its own little chunk of Ma Bell’s corpse.