Universal Service Fund [telecom]

The Universal Service Fund (USF) is a system of telecommunications subsidies and fees managed by the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) intended to promote universal access to telecommunications services in the United States. The FCC established the fund in 1997 in compliance with the Telecommunications Act of

1996. The FCC is a government agency that implements and enforces America's communication regulations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and other U.S. territories. The fund reported a total of $7.82 billion in disbursements in 2014, divided among its four programs. The fund is supported by charging telecommunications companies a fee which is set quarterly. As of the third quarter of 2016, the rate is 17.9% of a telecom company's interstate and international end-user revenues.

While separate itemization is not required by the FCC, it is common for USF fees to be listed separately from other charges on a consumer's bill. Universal Service charges should not be confused with what are sometimes referred to in telephone company bills as "Federal Subscriber Line" charges, which are access fees charged by telecommunications companies, not the local or federal government.

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Reply to
Bill Horne
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In the old days, universal service was a major goal of state and federal utility regulators. They achieved it by setting basic service rates very low (bare bones was $3/month*) while premium service rates were set higher as a cross subsidy.

One of the objectives of the Bell breakup was to eliminate that cross-subsidy so that business and LD rates would go down and big businesses would save money (which is what happened). Local customers promptly saw rate increases and a new universal service charge, so they had no net gain from Divestiture.

*That $3 included a telephone set, all maintenance for the set as well as inside and outside wiring, and interconnection to long distance.

By the way, in my area there is a 911 "fee" added to my phone bill. In the old days, the phone company was proud to have the local Operator assist in placing and completing emergency calls pubic safety units.

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Reply to

In article you write:

I agree that the USF is totally screwed up these days, but I would disagree that local customers had no net gain. If you make any long distance calls at all, the rates have dropped to the point where they hardly matter. 3 cpm for anywhere in the country is typical.

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Reply to
John Levine

On 20 Sep 2018 22:46:29 -0400, John Levine wrote

I agree with HAncock4. Divestiture was a lose-lose for everybody. The military and DoD were on AT&T's side, not the government's, for the record. Consumers lost from divestiture. A great book to read for this is "The Rape of Ma Bell". A little esoteric at times but it does a great job explaining why Divestiture was about the worst thing to happen in U.S. telecommunications history.

The phone companies also lost from divestiture. The previous relationship between BOCs and AT&T was very synergistic. It was very efficient at restoring service quickly and operating efficiently. After the MFJ, it was pure disarray everywhere. A phone network is better when unified, not fractured into a million pieces as it was. And the whole LATA scheme is about the most bizarre and convoluted structure ever dreamt up. Back then, long-distance was charged by distance. Now, calling your neighbor can be considered long distance because of dumb LATA rules. What the heck??

Back then, consumers could just call the "phone company" for service, which was prompt, quick, and hassle-free. After Divestiture: which phone company? The local phone company? The interstate phone company? AT&T? MCI? Some other competitor?

The only real winners were businesses, since businesses were the primary originator of long-distance calls so they saw their phone bills decrease significantly, whereas customers bills increased to reflect the true cost of the service they were receiving. And business lines used to be more expensive, I'm not sure if that's still the case either.

I don't know where $0.03/min came from. The incumbent in my area does not offer any flat-rate long distance calling plan, and long-distance is $3.95 per month plus $0.15 per minute. A 40 minute call from Wisconsin to Minnesota is slightly over $6. An hour of talking is $9. I don't call that cheap.

So the breakup was a lose-lose for everybody, except businesses, although I would say businesses still lost out on the quality of service they would have gotten with Bell. They enjoy cheaper rates though, so I wanted to qualify that.

***** Moderator's Note *****

A. Because it doesn't follow the natural, intuitive top-to-bottom tradition of writing during a written conversation or debate.

Q. Why is top-posting bad?

Bill Horne Moderator

Reply to
Naveen Albert

The elimination of cross-subsidy allowed some decrease in long distance call rates, but that is not the only factor.

In the days after Divestiture, long distance rates fell, but the biggest cuts were for the long haul calls. Short haul calls didn't fall, or even increased.

Note that in that time consumers were hammered by ridiculous charges (e.g. $25 per call) for "alternative operator services".

In more recent years, long distance rates have become too cheap to meter because of technological improvements--a situation that has been ongoing for decades. Long distance rates were falling since the 1930s, this isn't anything new. The same factors that allow a powerful personal computer to sell for $250 today when it once cost thousands allowed long distance calls to be cheap.

Further, many telephone plans--both landline and cellular--cost more because long distance costs are factored into them.

Reply to

To enlarge on the above:

My employer at the time of Divestiture was implementing a large scale data communications network. Before Divestiture we had an efficient single point of contact with the local telephone company. After Divestiture we had to deal with the local telephone company and various long distance companies. If there was a problem, there was finger pointing between the LD carriers and the local company. It meant a delay in fixing trouble which meant business lines were down and operations disrupted. Very frustrating.

Yes, there were some rate savings. However, these were more than eaten up by the fact we had to now hire our own staff to do the stuff the phone company used to do for us, and handle the finger- pointing issues.

The LATA scheme was particularly frustrating and expensive. We had a branch office that occupied two buildings across the street from each other. The street happened to be a LATA boundary. Previously, we used local lines connect the two buildings, easy, no problem. After Divestiture it was a big expensive mess.

Back then, we also had problems with MCI and Sprint trying to muscle in to get business. MCI threatened to sue us (they did a lot of that to build up their business). (There was a good book that described the early days of MCI. It was pro-MCI, and actually felt that MCI was entitled to force their way onto customers by litigation, as if MCI was entitled to business instead of earning it by offering superior service at a lower price.)

In terms of telephone sets and local switchgear, I think Avaya is pretty good, and they're the descendant of Western Electric. But the old Western Electric gear was extremely reliable and durable, and of course made in the USA.

Ironically, we've now come full circle in that MCI is gone and a local carrier can now handle long distance. I think the bulk of the telephone industry today is only AT&T and Verizon, with others (e.g. Frontier, Century) occupying a relatively small niche. Given that we're back to where we started, what was the point of Divestiture?

Reply to

In article you write:

That's impressive, but utterly atypical. Where are you, anyway?

My incumbent is a high priced RLEC in upstate New York, who offer flat rate long distance for about $10/mo, or let you pick your own LD carrier which is what I do. My LD carrier charges 3.3cpm plus about $3/mo which includes an 800 number.

Reply to
John Levine

Given that we're back to where we started, what was the point of Divestiture?

We're only back to where we started in one sense. The monopoly aspect of the business is kind of back. But not really, we still have unneeded competition that complicates things. But the Bell System is definitely not back. There is no quality customer service. They all contract out to Asian call centers who can't speak properly and have no idea about how to help up. I remember talking with AT&T for 2.5 hours once only to get nowhere and was rudely hung up on at the end. I called CenturyLink and was talking instantly to this very helpful guy who lived in Montana, who answered all my questions. I'm certainly glad CL is the ILEC in MT, not AT&T!

No helpful installers today. If you go to AT&T's website you can't even find where the landline stuff is, you have to do an Internet search. Copper everywhere is decaying. Things would be much better if Divestiture had never happened.

The only thing I like about Divestiture is now we can own our own phones. Good for people who are telephone collectors, like me. But people were doing that unofficially back before Divestiture anyways, so that might be a moot point too.

***** Moderator's Note *****

A. Because it disturbe the normal top-to-bottom flow of a written conversation. Q. Why is top-posting bad?

Bill Horne Moderator

Reply to
Naveen Albert

I was just reading Hancock4's post of 9/22.

His brief reference to 'finger pointing' in the industry brought back a lot of memories.

I worked for MCI during their high growth years. I was a very sharp troubleshooter on analog lines. Every time a vendor tried to get me into a finger pointing match with them, I always prevailed. That was because I did thorough troubleshooting and I never assigned blame to another telephone company or COAM provider without absolute proof. If it wasn't their issue, I'd just fix it without getting them involved.

Sadly, a lot of the COAM and even some of the phone companies would make assumptions and deny the issue was theirs even though my troubleshooting clearly demonstrated that it was. It happens a lot more often than you think much to your customer's displeasure.

In my later years at MCI, I was involved with a department called 'Accounts Maintenance'. It was a polite name for something else. A more accurate name might have been 'Troubled Accounts'.

These were customers with foreign exchange lines, WATS lines, and/or analog data lines.

They never sent me to a customer unless the customer was already absolutely furious. I could bet you a hundred dollar bill [with no fear of losing] that the customer was ready to eat me alive when I walked in the door.

But I never failed to resolve their issue(s). I always had them eating out of my hand when I left. I saved many an account for MCI.

When I would get into a difference of opinion (a more professional way of referring to it than 'finger pointing'), I would schedule a meet with the COAM or telco and prove the issue to them. I always isolated the issue to their service or equipment and got them to repair it.

I thoroughly embarrassed the local Bell company because they refused to believe my assessment. Their field installers/repair men always took the attitude that if you weren't one of them, you didn't know anything.

The customer was experiencing a loud hum whenever they bridged their MCI WATS line with one of their Bell lines. It otherwise worked fine.

I had the local phone company go out and check it. All he did was check for dial tone at the demarc, said there was nothing wrong, and proceeded to leave.

That customer was a burglar/fire alarm company that paid the local company twenty thousand dollars per month for all of the lines they used to monitor their customers' alarms. That customer stopped the installer, explained to him that he was a large customer, and politely asked him to assist him in resolving that issue. The installer refused and he left.

I went out there with my test equipment. When I put a volt ohm meter between ring and ground, the meter pegged to the left. There was positive battery on the ring of the circuit we had leased from the local Bell company to carry our WATS service to his premises. I checked the conditions on the Bell lines to compare. They all showed negative battery ring to ground.

I opened a trouble report with the local phone company. They sent the same installer/repair man to the site as before. He called me and told me I didn't know what I was talking about. He said I sent him out on an unnecessary trip. He also stated, 'on a loop start circuit telco does not provide battery' (excuse me?).

I told him to hold tight and not leave because I was now going to escalate this.

When I called the escalation line, they let me speak to a technical supervisor. I told him what I had found on the line and that the installer/repair man was refusing to address the issue. He told me he'd call me back.

About ten minutes later, my phone rang. It was our customer. He told me that it worked and he even bridged up our line to demonstrate that there was no longer a loud hum on the line when they bridged it. I heard a clear MCI dial tone with no hum.

Five minutes later, I got a phone call from the technical supervisor. He told me, "Fred, I would have bet a month's pay that you were wrong. And I would have *lost*!". They had identified a defective power supply they had installed on the customer's premises. When they replaced it, the issue cleared.

Problem solved.

I ran into that installer/repair man at one of our data customers about a month later. From then on any time I asked him to do something or told him how to troubleshoot anything, it was 'Yes, sir' and he acted! I never had another minute's issue with him (I still remember his name, haha). Apparently that story spread to the rest of his colleagues in that area because their attitude seemed to change when I dealt with them, too.

I could tell a number of other stories like this. I had one with Rolm where I had to arrange a meet. I really embarrassed the folks at Rolm when I immediately proved that the issue with the WATS line was a card in the customer's switch and not our WATS line. They had been telling the customer for weeks that the issue was not in the Rolm switch. Of course, they insisted the issue was on the WATS line we were providing. The supervisor that met me swapped out the Rolm card while I waited and the issue was immediately resolved. The customer went absolutely ballistic when he found he had been without his WATS line for weeks because of that defective card and Rolm had repeatedly denied it was their issue. I could give you further details, but I think you get the idea.

Nothing is more frustrating to a customer than finger pointing between telcos and/or COAM providers. First, thoroughly troubleshoot it and clearly identify the issue. If it is your issue, resolve it right then and there. If you isolate it to another service provider or customer equipment, schedule a meet with the telco or COAM provider and make sure everyone in attendance understands that no one is leaving until the issue is resolved. Then, resolve it. That leads to much happier customers.


Reply to
Fred Atkinson

Turns out she's an at&t customer, so she can pick any competing long distance carrier she wants.

AT&T has basically given up on consumer long distance, and offers only that overpriced plan for people who don't realize that they can make one phone call and switch to someone better.

Reply to
John Levine

I guess it was inevitable that *someone* at MCI knew their trade. I'm glad to know it was you. ;-)

For those of a certain age, "COAM" means "Customer Owned And Maintained." Where I worked, the designation was mostly applied to owners of COCOT (Customer Owned Coin Operated Telephone) pay phones, and then to those who bought PBX (Private Branch eXchange) units from a slew of fly-by-night vendors who cropped up after divestiture to take advantage of the Bell System reputation for reliability, by peddling sub-standard technology at exorbitant prices.

Bell System technicians were trained to be self-assured and confident when dealing with customers, long before divestiture. They sometimes looked down on technicians working for other vendors because, frankly, there wasn't much to go wrong with phone company wires or equipment, and repairs could, for that reason, be made simply and quickly. THere were some companies that I won't name which had a business model of relying on Bell System training and expertise to do all the "complicated" work on their behalf.


I worked on a number of "Extension Off Premise" lines when I was a Toll Test Technician, and often when I had to act on a complant from a COAM vendor, I would often put a meter on a "dial tone" line coming from a PBX that was (at best) capable of supporting some proprietary desk phones in a small office, and it would show "floating" voltages that did not meet the interface specification. I was usually forced to explain to the vendor and the customer that the PBX was not producing the conditions needed to interface with T-Carrier, range extender, or other trunk-side equipment in my office. The vendors involved would often complain that "Ma Bell" had gerrymandered the standards to her advantage, even though they had been in use for decades, just to placate their customers.

We could debate endlessly about whether those standards were "fair," even though the ILECs bent over backwards to accomodate incompatible PBX's and other shoddy merchandise. Just as one example, we went through several versions of D4 T-Carrier channel units that were designed to work with the bizarre variety of PBX units being imported for sale to dumb purchasing managers who assmed that every phone was the same as every other, and wouldn't listen to the truth.

[rant] I think most customer frustration was caused by the double-talk and evasiveness of some new entrants into the "telephone" business who didn't know anything about it, and who assumed that "standards" were for others to uphold. They wanted money, and they didn't care how they got it. They cried endlessly to the FCC, to the various PUC's, and to the media, while they sold carp hardware and planned on being both rich and gone before it failed. [/rant]



Reply to
Bill Horne

Unfortunately, soon after Divestiture, many telecom businesses-- new and old--changed their operating philosophy and consumers suffered as a result.

As a regulated monopoly, Bell was more engineering oriented and tended to work hard for very high service standards. We all know their gear lasted forever and generally their people were well trained and helpful. (There were some exceptions over the years and in some places).

But after Divestiture, AT&T and the Baby Bells were now marketing companies. They were out to make a buck. Suddenly, engineering took a back seat to profit, and a fast profit at that. Cost- cutting became a priority. Sales was a priority. Many dedicated well-trained professional staff were replaced with salespeople on commission. They didn't know anything about "ground start" nor did they care. They wanted you to buy something and buy it now. Staff turnover was high. This of course all applied to the newcomer carriers and suppliers as well. The exceptions were a few folks who knew what they were doing and could get something done. But for the customer, it was very frustrating trying to get along until a competent person was found.

Reply to

This was a huge problem. We saw it in this newsgroup years ago when some of those sellers would pose basic questions they should've known the answer to if they were in the business.

A big problem with those alternate PBX's was when there was an explosion of new area codes and exchange designations. New PBX's had internal tables to control and route calls*. The newcomer companies failed to subscribe to industry bulletins giving timely news of new codes and didn't keep their PBX's up to date Customers couldn't make calls to new area codes.

In the old days, Bell had end-to-end responsibility. So the customers didn't care about the technical issues since Bell was expected to diagnose and resolve the problem, whatever it was. Generally (with some exceptions) that worked out well.

Some large installations essentially had a full-time Bell tech on site to do repairs or installations.

Back in the days of PBX operators, many large companies required that their operators previously had worked at Bell in order to have been thoroughly trained.

Bell did train their people well. However, at times it could be regimented and highly structured. They really did have a procedure on the proper way to sweep a floor (partly to keep dust down and away from the switchgear.)


I saw many examples of the above. Very frustrating.

Sadly, the old Bell System had a tarnished reputation at the time of Divestiture. It was considered by many CEO's to be better to dump Bell and save money with a newcomer equipment supplier and carrier. In the early days after Divestiture Bell people found themselves in a salesman's role, which they were not trained or prepared to do, and didn't do well. In contrast, many of the newcomers were salesman first and convinced corporate to go with them, even if the technical staff disagreed.

At the time of Divestiture, the technical staff at my employer disliked the newcomers. They knew enough to know their claims were crap. But corporate liked the savings and glitz. The inhouse people ended up cleaning up a lot of messes. That happened in many places.

  • Historical Note: In the past, dialable codes and PBX routing was controlled at the central office, not at the PBX. In some cases, an extension would know to dial 8 for an outward WATS line or tie line for a call to a distant point. (Sometimes there were multiple lines to choose from, so there was 81+, 82+ etc). Anyway, in the new world, PBX's would be individually programmed, but the tables had to be kept up to date.
Reply to

Begin forwarded message:

My experience was that the frustration was around long before divestiture.

I generally found telco persons (not all) to be arrogant, display an 'I know more than you know' attitude, and [generally] not really be listening to their customers. Many times the answer they would give me clearly demonstrated that they didn't really hear what I said or asked.

Higher engineering standards, yes. But at the price of a totalitarian PSTN.

Bell didn't seem to understand that the PSTN belonged to the public as they were the ones footing the bill.

If you were not satisfied with the result or the overall service, you had nowhere else to go.

Many times I wasn't satisfied at all. But I had no recourse other than to escalate through the PSC.

Once I had other options (post divestiture), that changed. They were generally more receptive than before. But not all the time. Sometimes I took the other provider instead when I couldn't get a resolution from them.

Sometimes I escalated through the PSC. That was drastic. But it worked when all else failed.

Today, we have many options. That's a good thing.


Reply to
Fred Atkinson

ITT took out a full page ad in LIFE in 1970 for their electronic PBX. (page 24)

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Here is another one from 1982 for Code A Phone.

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In 1975 the Bell System had the Dimension electronic PBX (two documents)

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Just out of curiosity, would anyone have heard of these units and if they were any good, like their ads tout?

In my own humble opinion as a worker-bee, many of these systems were overloaded with unnecessary features that most ordinary users never bothered to learn, much less utilize.

One office I was in had call-pickup. It was rarely used, and often caused confusion when it was used. Indeed, some users had the call pickup feature turned off.

Distinctive ringing caused confusion and was not liked.

Today, amazingly many office employees do not even know how to transfer a call from one extension to another; a PBX function that's been around for 100 years. They just tell the caller to call back. When we got Centrex II 40 years ago, all we had to do was flask the hookswitch and dial the desired extension and hang up.

Reply to

I co-wrote a book about the new electronic PBXs in the late 1970s. It is an area where Ma Bell was way, way behind the curve.

First off, bear in mind that this was years before divestiture. Terminal equipment (CPE) was opened to competition by the 1968 Carterfone decision. In 1976 the FCC introduced Registration, to get rid of the silly "protective coupling arrangements" COAM previously needed. In 1980's Computer II decision, the FCC fully deregulated CPE, effective 1983; all of the Bell CPE was moved to American Bell Inc. This was before Divestiture, which then left AT&T with the CPE (then called ATTIS) while the Bells kept the intraLATA networks.

During the 1970s, though, Ma Bell still kept its PBXs on tariff, rental only; the competitors, called "interconnect companies", sold them. So telecom managers (and I was one for a time) did a fiscal make/buy analysis to convince the money folks which way to go.

The first few years of interconnect were unimpressive. My college needed a PBX for its new campus, so ca. 1973 they bought an Oki 500 crossbar. No worse than Bell's, but still electromechanical. Electronic PBXs were about to hit, though, and most were digital. Harris Digital Telephone Systems came out with one ca. 1974, using a primitive form of delta modulation. Rolm entered the market ca. 1975 with its CBX. That used 144 kbps PCM, 12 bits linear @12 kHz, because it was cheaper to build those filters than the ones needed for already-standard (on D3 channel banks)

64 kbps PCM.

That would be true of Rolm, in some applications. By 1976, the Nortel SL-1, using 64 kbps standard codecs, one per line, was out. It didn't have many features on analog phones, but its proprietary SL-1 set did. The SL-1 also introduced Remote Peripheral Equipment, a remote line shelf connected by a pair of T1 lines. This was great for companies with multiple sites around town, and was a good match for the new digital microwave systems coming out. Prime Computer (anyone remember them?) put in a bunch of microwave-linked RPE in the 1970s.

But Ma Bell was behind. It introduced Dimension, an *analog* electronic switch. Its backplane had 64 (or 128 on the D2000) time slots, and the voltage on each was the analog signal from one call. It had a pretty long feature list, but they were lumped in different Feature Packages, with different rental prices. D400 was the base unit. D2000 was multiple buses with (analog) links between them. D100 was a compact package variant on the D400. It was controlled by a proprietary minicomputer (D2000's being faster than D400's). It worked okay but its main marketing push was "we're Ma Bell and you don't need a capital request to install it." But they did have long-term contracts, as long as 12 years (two-tier, then VTPP, rates).

I installed a Rolm LCBX at BBN ca. 1979. It had a ton of "star code" features. The very technical crowd at BBN used them a lot. I later installed a bunch of them at DEC. The station features saw much less use there. In DEC's last years, it was mostly a Nortel shop. They had a few multi-building SL-100s. Those were DMS-100 digital COs configured as PBXs.

Ma Bell designed a digital version of Dimension, code-named Antelope, in the late 1970s. But they kept it off market until 1983, when it was off tariff, and it became System 85. This was their big PBX. The smaller System 75 was a newer design. These had a long life span in the market.

Reply to
Fred Goldstein

Would you have the exact citation for the book? I'd like to see if it's on worldcat.org


According to the Bell Labs records, Bell introduced several PBX's in its last years just before Divestiture (at various points). The internals varied.

On the low-end, several new key systems were introduced that allowed small PBX users to switch over to a key system. This included the Comkey 416, the Comkey 718 series, Horizon, and Merlin.

Our office had a Comkey 718 and it was pretty slick.

On the PBX side, the new systems had plug-in units to allow easy growth and feature flexibility. Instead of hard wiring new selectors or wired logic, they'd just pop in circuit cards to provide a specific optional service feature or more capacity.

Some of the newer PBX's included:

770A PBX 40 to 400 stations, multiple features 800A up to 80 stations, basic or advanced service and traffic load 801A up to 40 trunks, 270 stations, mid range system 805A up to 18 trunks, 57 stations low cost basic system 812A up to 2000 lines advanced system

No. 101 ESS remote switching; full services.

What anyone recall how these Bell PBX's compared in terms of price, performance, and reliability against independent systems-- from the point of view of the customer? (I don't think customers cared whether the PBX was digital or analog, indeed, if it was electro-mechanical or electronic. They wanted reliability and a good price.)


My only experience with non Bell systems was very limited. I knew of only one company who bought in a non-Bell PBX pre-1983. The price saving was substantial. But the PBX was not reliable and eventually had to be removed.

I once came across an _old_ Kellogg PBX. I thought it was built very poorly compared to equivalent Bell PBX's. But it may not have been a fair comparison.

In the 1960s, Automatic Electric acquired the Leich Company which sold PBX's. I don't know how good they were. Here are some catalogs. (This is earlier than our discussion, but shown for comparative purposes.)

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(see pg 84:)

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Reply to

Almost certainly not there. It was called Dimension PBX and Alternatives, and was put together by Economics & Technology Inc., a small consulting firm that I was working for. They didn't "publish" the book in the usual sense, but distributed it as a "report" at a rather higher price.


Those were electronic key telephone systems (EKTS), replacements for the relay-based 1A2 key systems that had been ubiquitous. They had some PBX features though.

IIRC the 770 was an electromechanical crossbar. It may have had some solid-state components in its marker, but I never had my hands on one. This predated computer control.

These were again pre-computer semi-electronic analog systems. By 1980 they were dinosaurs.

Otherwise known as the Edsel of the Bell System. This was a remote module hung off of a 1ESS, with an analog switch matrix. The idea (ca. late 1960s) was that computers themselves were really, really expensive, so the processor in the 1ESS would be timeshared to run some 101s too, for Centrex-CU service, mostly. It didn't work worth a hoot'n'holler and the few that were installed were, AFAIK, pulled pretty quickly.

All of those were totally uncompetitive with the stuff that began to come out ca. 1975, when computerized machines took off. Some of the earliest "interconnect" PBXs were fine machines too -- recall that the "independent" telcos didn't buy from WECo, so there were other suppliers, like GTE Automatic Electric, ITT, Stromberg-Carlson, and Northern Electric (later Nortel) that interconnects could buy from.

Not a good sample. Maybe they had an early Tele-Resources TR/32. That was a small analog PBX that didn't hold up well. Or some similar stuff. But by 1983 there was a ton of good non-Bell stuff. From 1980 to 1985 I was DEC's "interconnect guy", in their corporate telecom dept., ordering the non-Bell PBXs; they had been a Bell shop with a ton of Dimensions put in between 1976 and 1980. I followed the market quite closely. Plenty of good stuff out there from Nortel, Rolm, Mitel, and others.

That was an old-line "indie" brand, gone by the late 1970s. ITT may have owned them at the end.

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Leich was another old-line vendor to the indies. I think its specialty was the LXP-4 "All Relay" small CO switch, which in the mid-century competed with Strowgers for some rural markets. But it was from an era that long predated "interconnect" and competitive PBXs.

There's a long story about Antelope, which became System 85, but it doesn't fit here, and I'm not expert on it.

Reply to
Fred Goldstein

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