1987Sprint, Kansas City, Mo., demonstrates the United States' first, coast-to-coast fiber optic network.

1988FTS 2000, the giant, 10-year government contract to replace the old federal telephone system, is awarded to AT&T (60 percent) and Sprint (40 percent). The contract is valued between $10 billion and $25 billion.

1990MCI issues dividends to shareholders for the first time.

1991Primestar Partners, owned by a consortium of cable interests and General Electric Co., launches direct-to-home satellite service using medium-power satellites.

1992Integrated services digital network is introduced.

1993Congress orders the FCC to hold spectrum auctions to divvy up chunks of airwaves.

1995AT&T, Basking Ridge, N.J., splits into three separate companies to become more focused.

American Personal Communications, Bethesda, Md., launches Sprint Spectrum, the first personal communications services product.

1996President Clinton signs the sweeping Telecommunications Act, setting off a wave of mergers and alliances.

GTE becomes the first local telephone provider to offer long distance service.

FCC hits $20 billion mark in spectrum auction revenues.

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