A telephone company[a] is a kind of communications service provider (CSP), more precisely a telecommunications service provider (TSP), that provides telecommunications services such as telephony and data communications access. Many telephone companies were at one time government agencies or privately owned but state-regulated monopolies. The government agencies are often referred to, primarily in Europe, as PTTs (postal, telegraph and telephone services).[2]

The Edison Bell Telephone Company building of 1896 in Birmingham, England

Telephone companies are common carriers, and in the United States are also called local exchange carriers. With the advent of mobile telephony, telephone companies now include wireless carriers, or mobile network operators.

Most telephone companies now also function as internet service providers (ISPs), and the distinction between a telephone company and an ISP may disappear completely over time, as the current trend for supplier convergence in the industry continues.[3]

In the past, most TSPs were government owned and operated in most countries, due to the nature of capital expenditure involved in it. But today there are many private players in most regions of the world, and even most of the government owned companies have been privatized.

History edit

In 1913, the Kingsbury Commitment allowed more than 20,000 independent telephone companies in the United States to use the long distance trunks of Bell Telephone Company.[4][5]

Popular culture edit

  • Comedian Lily Tomlin frequently satirized the telephone industry (and the country's then-dominant Bell System in particular) with a skit playing the telephone operator Ernestine. Ernestine, who became one of Tomlin's trademark characters, was perhaps most famous for the following line: "We don't care; we don't have to. We're the phone company."
  • In the satirical 1967 film The President's Analyst, The Phone Company (TPC) is depicted as plotting to enslave humanity by replacing landlines with brain-implanted mobile phones.
  • In the 1988 video game Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders, The Phone Company (TPC) was used by the Caponian aliens to secretly reduce the intelligence of humans.

See also edit

References and notes edit

  1. ^ Abbreviated as telco. Alternative names include telephone service provider,[1] telecommunications company or telecommunications operator.
  1. ^ Operability: Keeping Your Telephone Number When You Change Service Provider. FCC.gov. Retrieved on 2013-09-18.
  2. ^ Sandholtz, Wayne (1993-01-01). "Institutions and Collective Action: The New Telecommunications in Western Europe". World Politics. 45 (2): 242–270. doi:10.2307/2950659. ISSN 1086-3338. JSTOR 2950659.
  3. ^ Héritier, Adrienne; Windhoff-Héritier, Adrienne (1999-11-28). Policy-Making and Diversity in Europe: Escape from Deadlock. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521653848.
  4. ^ "This day in history". News & Record. 2015-12-21.
  5. ^ Commission, New York (State) Public Service (1916). Abstracts of Reports of Corporations.

External links edit