TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Physically Protecting The Local Loop Network?

Re: Physically Protecting The Local Loop Network?
28 Dec 2005 08:33:55 -0800

Steven Lichter wrote:

> I had a space saver type of phone (the old black ones with the dial on
> top) installed in a room in my parent's garage and the installer that
> installed it worked on the phone the better part of a day, could not
> get it to work, and had other installers coming by to look at it, he
> came back the next day and got it to work, it needed a special bell
> box to work. When I ordered the phone the rep had no idea what it
> even was, this was in Pacific Telephone area.

Presumably this was before divesture and the phone company still owned
the telephone unit?

Before divesture there were a fair amount of older phones still in
service that required separate bell boxes. All candle stick and 202
("French") telephone sets did. The 302 set (1938) was a technical
advance in that no separate bell box was required. Many 202 sets
still in service were modernized with an "F" (300 series) handset
replacing the older one, and candle sticks got "F" transmitter and
receivers; so this equipment all remained in service and was very
common in the 1950s and 1960s. The Space Saver was very popular on
workbenches, and even advertised for the home.

Anyway, before divesture I'm surprised the phoneco had trouble working
with a phone that required a bell box. Sure they were rare by the
1980s, but not so rare.

Steven Lichter wrote:

> Many years ago I had an old magneto phone on my line (before
> deregulation) my daughter at the time was about 1 1/2 years old and
> cranked it, to say the least it caused problems, first the fuses on my
> both sides of my line were blown, and it must have taken the protector
> on the frame out, PacTel was out within an hour and they were not
> happy with me, I pointed out it had been a phone that was made by for
> for The Western Electric Co., that did not seem to impress them, I was
> told not to put it on the line again; I did, but disables the magneto.

That was a reason -- quite legitimate -- that the phone companies
(both Bell and indepedents) fought customer owned equipment,
especially without protective devices. If a lot of customers had this
sort of thing it would add up to a lot of service calls for the phone
company, and for them considerable extra expense and aggrvation
without benefit. The pre-divesture Bell System physical plant was
engineered for low maintenance to minimize service calls. Customer
owned equipment likely wouldn't have such high quality and be more
likely to fail. The result is service calls and finger pointing.

The phone company correctly realized new customer telephone sets would
be cheap junk and cause false busies, shorts, and bad connections all
of which were heresy to the service standards principles of the old
Bell System.

Once customer owned equipment was clearly here to stay, the phone
companies did a 180 degree reversal, and ceased end-to-end
responsibility for service. So now if you have a telephone problem,
the phone company does nothing until you are absolutely sure it is not
a problem in your wiring or your telephone sets; if it is, they will
charge you and charge you dearly to fix it. And of course now we have
fingerpointing over which side of the demarc the problem is on.

The phone company added more protection in the local loop and C.O. for
this sort of thing and of course we customers add to pay for it in our

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Everytime I get a piece of junk mail
from Southwestern Bell, err, SBC, err AT&T offering some new promotion
or another ("take it all for six months or a year for ten dollars per
month", etc) one thing they _always_ insist has to be included in the
'deal' is Wire and Line Protection/Repair Service; they always clearly
indicate this is _not_ optional. PAT]

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