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Telephone Timeline

August 4, 2003

Milestones in telephone history:

_1876: Alexander Graham Bell invents and receives patents for his ``electrical speech machine,″ the telephone.

_1878: First telephone exchange opens in New Haven, Conn. Within a few years, licensed telephone exchanges open in every major U.S. city.

_1885: First phone line is established between New York and Philadelphia.

_1913: Settlement of the first antitrust lawsuit against AT&T establishes the phone company as a government-sanctioned monopoly.

_1927: Cross-Atlantic phone service begins between the United States and London. The initial cost is $75 for the first three minutes.

_1934: Cross-Pacific telephone service begins between the United States and Japan. The initial cost is $39 for the first three minutes.

_1963: Touchtone dialing is introduced in some cities, with a keypad replacing the traditional telephone dial.

_1968: AT&T introduces 911 as a nationwide emergency number.

_1969: Over 90 percent of U.S. households have a telephone.

_1982: As part of the settlement of a landmark antitrust lawsuit, AT&T and the Justice Department agree to break up the phone company. The deal triggers the end of the 69-year monopoly.

_1983: The United States’ first commercial cellular telephone system opens in Chicago.

_1984: Phone customers officially get to choose their long-distance carrier, possible because of the implementation of AT&T’s breakup.

_Middle to late 1980s: Answering machines become commonplace.

_1993: Congress lifts price and other economic regulations on wireless services.

_1996: Congress passes the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

_2002: Most phones in the world are cell phones.


Main sources: AT&T, Verizon

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