September 09, 2023

The Dial Comes to Town

The best technical support video ever. I'm so ancient that I grew up with a dial telephone. And those massive telephone books. This was an era when AT&T owned the entire system from end to end, including the telephone. Touch-Tone (a registered trademark) debuted in November 1963.

The AT&T monopoly (also known as "Ma Bell," after Bell Telephone founded by Alexander Graham Bell) was broken up in 1984 into seven regional "Baby Bells." I was in college at the time, and one of the first manifestations of the break-up was the proliferation of cheap Touch-Tone phones.

Those wall-sized racks of electromechanical switches make the geek in me smile. Today, the equipment that filled entire buildings would fit into a small closet. But this was the cutting edge of computing in 1940. And why the invention of the transistor at Bell Labs in 1947 changed everything.

Not only has the dial telephone gone the way of the dinosaurs, but the landline (also known affectionately as "POTS" or "plain old telephone service") is fast on their heels. Today, only two percent of households in the United States rely solely on a hardwired connection to place a phone call.

The question going forward is how fast fiber will replace the now "traditional" coaxial cable connection. And when and if wireless will replace everything else.

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# posted by Blogger Dan
9/11/2023 12:40 PM   
The phone book meant any adult could have their name in print and be somebody. Our nation lost something important when the phone book died.
# posted by Blogger Eugene
9/16/2023 8:43 AM   
I'll include that link above.