Re: Does anyone else see the irony?
If I may correct you on the initial assertion, "AT&T was split up in to baby bells to stop their dominance in the telecommunication industry.". This was at one time true, but is no longer.
I am in the South Eastern US where the "broken up AT&T" piece Bellsouth, was repurchased by AT&T a few years back, so around here nothing has changed much since 1980's (but that's another story..).
The local cable company has a "lock" on all cable users within the city boundaries. Other ISPs/cable provides can ONLY provide outside the city. The comment about Verizon about is spot on - not available here.
It is cognitive dissonance that Google "are sometimes evil", but if they were to propose to be a local ISP, AT&T would be out of business here within a month.
To fully inform the reader, since AT&T is now the "new/old/new" local monopoly you must PAY them for their local phone service to get someone else's DSL.
This is the same scam in the UK with BT/Openreach. In Oxford I had B.E (since purchased by Sky), it was fitted by Openreach, and my local phone was RoyalMail, who of course pay BT. </rant>
Net neutrality is a fragile thing, and I fear it may cease to exist without some concerted effort to ensure EVERYONE gets decent unfettered internet.
Science is hard, engineering is hard at first then becomes easy. This is a solved problem.