whither telephone companies?

Telephone companies face serious business problems.   Broadband Internet connectivity can support telephone service as just one app among many apps.   For example, Google voice is just one feature among the many that Gmail offers.   Texting is already competing with telephoning, and video communicating is likely also to do so in the future.  Providing network connectivity … Continue reading whither telephone companies?

Bell System response to automatic telephony

Early in the year 1900, local authorities in Springfield, Massachusetts, held a hearing on Hampden Automatic Telephone Company’s application to provide automatic telephone service in Springfield.  The Bell System at that time provided operator-switched telephone service in Springfield.   The hearing produced an early battle of experts.  It also displayed general argumentative strategies quite common in … Continue reading Bell System response to automatic telephony

"connecting carrier" classification successfully limits regulation

In 1934, the U.S. Communications Act established a class of common carriers subject to only a subset of common-carrier (Title II) regulation.  This class of common carriers, called “connecting carriers”, included: any carrier engaged in interstate or foreign communication solely through physical connection with the facilities of another carrier not directly or indirectly controlling or … Continue reading "connecting carrier" classification successfully limits regulation

early U.S. telephone competition

The expiration of Bell telephone patents in 1894 and 1895 unleashed vigorous competition in the early U.S. telephone industry.  On Jan. 1, 1894, telephones in the U.S. numbered 266 thousand, and the Bell System operated 89% of them.  On Jan. 1, 1908, the number of telephones had increased to 6.1 million, and the Bell System … Continue reading early U.S. telephone competition