TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Telephone Exchange Usage in Low-Volume States

Re: Telephone Exchange Usage in Low-Volume States
16 Aug 2005 19:38:27 -0700

Joseph wrote:

> ... I believe private line service is pretty
> much available in all but the most remote areas now.

Could you elaborate on the situation in "the most remote areas"? Has
it been cost effective to replace an isolated long loop shared party
line with more modern carrier equipment?

I know that in developed areas party lines are obsolete, in some cases
grandfathered in, in some cases not available at all. But I was
wondering about very isolated rural areas.

>> 2) Five digit dialing in some areas not well populated or served by
>> community dial offices?

> be dialed with all seven numbers with the first few digits "absorbed"
> for local callers. When ESS came into being that all ended.

As long as the dialing is unique, there is no reason that an ESS
couldn't absorb digits just like an SxS could.

In many places the demand for exchanges is so high that the only way
to create unique dialing is require TEN digits. But in the states I
mentioned perhaps there is enough 'space' in the exchange assignments
that five digits could still be unique for a town.

In any event, I was also wondering what kind of exchange demand there
was in the states I mentioned with limited population growth and rural

Robert Bonomi wrote:

>> 2) Five digit dialing in some areas not well populated or served by
>> community dial offices?

> *VERY* rare. Gotta have full numbers, to handle direct-dial inbound
> calls from outside that exchange. Recognizing 'short cut' dialing
> within the exchange raises all sorts of complexities, having to do
> with 'variable length' numbers, and detecting 'end of dialing'.

By 1965 (probably earlier), almost all '5 digit' exchanges had full 10
digit numbers to handle inward calls. During the 1950s and early
1960s the Bell System was changing exchanges where necessary to make
them unique within an area code.

None the less, the 5-digit dialing capability remained for people
within those small towns. Letterheads carried phone numbers like
this: (505) 34 5-4111. Outsiders would dial 505-345-4111, but those
within the town would need only dial 5-4111. This was easily
accomodated by SxS.

One reason this was possible was because rural areas often had very
small local calling areas, so local dial choices were quite limited.
Anything else required the toll prefix which forwarded the call to a
toll center (or later a SxS add-on memory register).

I should note I had 7 digit dialing to the area code nearby (and they
did to me). This was possible because our exchanges were unique to
BOTH area codes. In other words, if I were 555, there'd be no 555 in
the other area code, so there was no confusion. Obviously when
exchanges became scarce this was abandoned. First I had to dial all
ten digits to cross the area code, now I have dial 10 digits to call
next door. This was common in area code border sections. (To this
day such calls remain local even though they cross the LATA).

As mentioned, it was easy for SxS to handle this, and certainly could
for ESS if conditions and policy permitted it.

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