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Bell’s First Long-distance Telephone Call 1876

August 10, 2012 by staff 

Bell’s First Long-distance Telephone Call 1876, In telecommunications, a long-distance call is a telephone call made outside a certain area, usually characterized by an area code outside of a local call area (known in the United States as a Local Access and Transport Area or LATA). Long-distance calls usually carry long-distance charges that, within certain nations, vary between phone companies and are the subject of much competition. International calls are calls made between different countries, and usually carry much higher charges. These calls are charged to the calling party if the called party declines a collect call.

In the United States, long-distance can refer to two different classes of calls that are not local calls. The most common class of long-distance is often called interstate long-distance, though the more accurate term is inter-LATA interstate long-distance. This is the form of long-distance most commonly meant by the term, and the one for which long-distance carriers are usually chosen by telephone customers.

Another form of long-distance, increasingly relevant to more U.S. states, is known as inter-LATA intrastate long-distance. This refers to a calling area outside of the customer’s LATA but within the customer’s state. While technically and legally long-distance, this calling area is not necessarily served by the same carrier used for “regular” long-distance, or may be provided at different rates. In some cases, customer confusion occurs as, due to rate or carrier distinctions, a local long-distance call can be billed at a higher per-minute rate than interstate long-distance calls, despite being a shorter distance.

Often, in large LATAs, there is also a class known by the oxymoronic name local long-distance, which refers to calls within the customer’s LATA but outside of their local calling area. This area is normally served by the customer’s local telephone provider, which is usually one of the Baby Bells, despite attempts by some CLECs to compete in the local telephone market.

In California, in addition to intra-LATA and inter-LATA calling, there are ZUM (Zone Usage Measurement) areas within the local Service Areas.

On 25 January 1915, Alexander Graham Bell ceremonially sent the first transcontinental telephone call from 15 Dey Street in New York City, which was received by his former assistant Thomas A. Watson at 333 Grant Avenue in San Francisco. This process, nevertheless, involved five intermediary telephone operators and took 23 minutes to connect. The New York Times reported:

“On October 9, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas A. Watson talked by telephone to each other over a two-mile (3 km) wire stretched between Cambridge and Boston. It was the first wire conversation ever held. Yesterday afternoon the same two men talked by telephone to each other over a 3,400-mile (5,500 km) wire between New York and San Francisco. Dr. Bell, the veteran inventor of the telephone, was in New York, and Mr. Watson, his former associate, was on the other side of the continent. They heard each other much more distinctly than they did in their first talk thirty-eight years ago.”

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