The America Bells are following the European PTTs: no more gentlemen's agreement of not competing in each other's fixed markets. Instead, full head-on competition.
DSL Prime reports a Needham scoop: SBC is buying Entrisphere's BLM: an IP switch, combined with DSLAM, that supports fiber. Almost a 'central office in a box'. Installing this box in a colocation space that partners AT&T or Covad already rent in a Verizon of BellSouth facility, and head-on competition with these landlords can begin (both in de business and the consumer markets).
The end to gentlemen's agreements worldwide among PTTs/RBOCs must be the worst development for incumbents of recent months. After having built transnational wireless networks that already broke these agreements, we recently noticed the entrance into each other's broadband markets by means of acquisitions (such as Telecom Italia buying Tiscali France or TDC acquiring Song Networks). Supported by local loop unbundling efforts from regulators.