Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The History of the Landline Telephone

The invention of the landline telephone made it possible for people to have verbal communications over long distances, drastically changing the way the world communicated. 

As technology has improved in telecommunications, landline telephones became cheaper, easier to operate and more accessible. Making it possible for billions of people all over the world to remain in contact with each other.

The first practical telephone derived from the creation of the electrical telegraph. It's invention is most often credited to Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 who was the first to patent the technology. There is much controversy surrounding this as Bell may have stolen the invention from Elisha Gray (who is not the only person who claims to have invented the phone before Bell.) The modern telephone that we use today is the result of many people working together.

The first long-distance telephone line was installed in 1877, covering a distance of 58 miles across Nevada County, California. This trend continued during the 20th century, increasing accessibility and usage dramatically. Between 1955 and 1956, the first transatlantic cable was installed, carrying 36 telephone channels, making international calls possible. It ran from Gallanach Bay, Scotland to Clarenville, Newfoundland.   In a little over 90 years after the first long-distance telephone line was installed, landline service reached 100 million users worldwide.

During the 21st century, landline telephone usage reached its highest point. In 2000, there were 16 fixed lines per 100 people in the world. In more developed countries the numbers peaked in 2000 and 2001 at 57 fixed lines per 100 people.

The landline telephone has recently seen usage decreases due to wireless telecommunication technologies. Statistics show nearly 16 percent of Americans receive almost all of their calls on a wireless device. While it took 90 years for the landline to reach 100 million users, it only took the cell phone 17 years.


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