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Atlanta -- BellSouth Corp. now has a fellow Baby Bell in its own back yard.
San Antonio-based SBC Communications Inc. recently signed a lease for 20,000 square feet of telecom space on Decatur Street in downtown Atlanta.
The move signals that SBC, the largest of all Bell telephone companies, will begin offering local and long-distance telephone service this fall in BellSouth's home city.
A spokesman for SBC says the company will begin pre-selling service this summer with an anticipated launch in late October.
With BellSouth and SBC going head-to-head for business and possibly consumer customers, Atlanta will be one of the first markets where two regional Bell operating companies (RBOCs compete for local service.
Since the 1996 Telecommunications Act was passed, BellSouth has, faced local competition in Atlanta from telecom giants, such as WorldCom Inc. and AT&T Corp., and smaller …