TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: A Question About 'Dial 1' in USA Calling

Re: A Question About 'Dial 1' in USA Calling
7 Mar 2006 07:33:16 -0800

TELECOM Digest Editor noted in response to

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: But that being the case, Lisa, why was
> Canada arbitrarily included as part of the 'USA numbering scheme'
> while Mexico was deliberatly excluded? The system back in the 1950's
> was deliberatly designed, IMO, to include all (mostly) English
> speakers and with certain other politics in mind, which was unfortunate.
> PAT]

I don't know the actual reason, but I suspect at the time that:

1) The US had considerably more trade and contact ties to Canada than
to Mexico in terms of volume. That is, a lot more phone calls back and

2) I suspect the telephone system of Canada was reasonably well
developed and would continue to grow and modernize, particularly in the
cities. (Certainly there was lots of very rural service, but there was
as well in the U.S. They were focusing more on the high volume city
calls and presumed operators would continue to manually set up rural

3) I suspect the telephone system of Mexico, on the other hand, was
fairly poor given Mexico was a fairly poor country, and probably would
not proceed too fast in modernization or expansion. I suspect the
ratios of telephones per person were much lower in Mexico than in
Canada and not expected to improve much.

4) Going DDD required a considerable investment by local companies.
They had to convert their exchanges to be unique, provide interfaces
and higher capacity, etc. I suspect Canada was willing to do so as it
would improve their internal long distance handling between their
cities and towns. Perhaps Mexico was not willing to do make such
improvements. Maybe its toll lines were on a delay-basis and it didn't
want to invest to capacity to make them a demand-basis.

It should be noted that some poor countries world wide didn't have
_any_ international access at all until 1972--I recall reading a Bell
System announcement about certain countries now being accessible that
weren't before.

5) Eventually Mexico or Mexico City did get an area code, but it was
pulled later on.

Pat, I'm glad you're back. Stay in good health. Your writing seems as
good as always.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Lisa, you may wish to also review the
message from Anthony Belanga elsehwere in this issue [called 'Mexico']
for some further thoughts on this, and I hope you would agree with me
that part of the problem was also the original DDD and IDDD founders
were very American-centric ('the world revolves around the USA')
people. PAT]

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