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Comm News soars into its fourth decade.

As we enter our fourth decade of covering the business of communications, it's time for a look at the major developments that got us in the fine position we are in today. We could begin with Alexander Graham Bell's patent of the phone and demonstration in Boston of voice transmission in 1876, but we've chosen to jump ahead to 1964. That's the birthdate of COMMUNICATIONS NEWS -- and back then telephone service was a monopoly and data tranmission was all but unknown.

In the intervening years, Comm News has given readers a front-line look at the major events which shaped the business as we know it today. First was the Carterfone Decision in 1968... the first chink in the AT&T monopoly. There was the Execunet Decision in 1977, allowing MCI and other firms to provide switched long-distance services, and eventually the divestiture of AT&T in 1984. By 1987 the FCC was looking at "price cap" plans, and in 1989, cellular was beginning to boom, the harbinger of the wireless explosion we see today.

Join our editors in a quick review of three fascinating decades (and pass this piece along to industry newcomers who will be better able to appreciate where the industry is today by reviewing its history).


1964: First issue of Comm News... Syncom III satellite used for historic international TV transmission of Olympics... Bell Data-Phone sets operate at up to 75 characters per second... Picturephone service introduced between New York, Chicago and Washington... Western Union opens $80 million transcontinental microwave system.

1965: Comm News buys Wire & Radio Communications, a publication established in 1883 as Telegraph & Telephone Age... First all-pushbuttondial phone system cut over in Tiffin, Iowa, by Central Iowa Telephone Co., using North Electric system... Comsat launches Early Bird, first commercial satellite, providing 240 voice channels... International Telecommunication Union celebrates 100th anniversary... First electronics switching system (ESS) cut over for 4,300 New Jersey Bell customers in Succasunna... Bell System introduces Trimline phone... First transatlantic cable (TAT-4) to link U.S. and continental Europe, with 128 simultaneous voice circuits.

1966: First pictures of moon's surface transmitted from Luna 9... First private digital network links 500 Westinghouse plants and 25,000 telephones.

1967: Inward WATS service introduced... FCC's Carterfone hearings concluded.


1968: Carterfone Decision opens door to interconnection of customer-owned equipment... AT&T files new interconnection tariffs... 20th anniversary of transistor... New data sets from Milgo Electronics (later to become Racal-Milgo, then Racal Datacom) transmit at up to 2,400 b/s... ICA's 21st meeting hosts record 357 members in Philadelphia, with 32 exhibitors.

1969: Carterfone Decision effective Jan. 1 ... MCI granted permission to operate between Chicago and St. Louis... First communications from surface of moon by Apollo 11 mission...U.S. Postal Service and Western Union test Mailgram service.

1970: Data Transmission Co. (Datran) files for nationwide system exclusively for data... FCC bans telcos from owning cable TV systems in their own service areas... FCC invites domestic satellite system proposals... MCI files for national network by linking three microwave systems... FCC OKs AT&T sale of TWX service to Western Union.

1971: FCC's Specialized Common Carrier Decision opens competition for private-line services... Western Union begins commercial Mailgram service... MCI begins commercial service on Chicago-St. Louis route... Computer Inquiry I allows unregulated computer services through separate subsidiaries, though AT&T remains barred under 1956 consent decree... Western Union allows interconnection of customer-provided systems... Eleven companies have filed proposals for domestic satellite systems.

1972: FCC "Open Skies" ruling creates domestic satellite communications carriers... ICA holds 25th anniversary conference in Dallas...FCC authorizes MCI's Chicago-New York route... Southern Pacific gets approval for 11-state common carrier network (beginnings of Sprint).

1973: ITT USTS unit seeks specialized carrier route from Houston to New York... AT&T Chairman John de Butts asks for "moratorium on further experiences in economics" aimed at increasing competition.

1974: Government files antitrust suit seeking breakup of Bell system. Judge Waddy assigned to case... AT&T files "High-Low" tariff for private-line voice grade services, departure from historic nationwide average pricing practice... RCA Globcom turns on first U.S. domestic satellite system using Telesat, Canada's Anik satellite... Western Union launches first two U.S. satellites for domestic service... Comm News celebrates 10th anniversary with "Dynamic Decade" issue.

1975: FCC Registration Program allows certified instruments to be directly connected to the public network without protective interface devices... Xerox introduces first general-purpose fax to transmit in two minutes on plain paper... Rapifax demonstrates 35-second machine between New York and London.

1976: ITT proposes digital data network to connect previously incompatible terminals... MIT hosts symposium marking 100th anniversary of the telephone... First Comstar satellite launched by Comsat for AT&T/GTE joint venture... First photos from surface of Mars transmitted to earth by Viking I... Southern Pacific Communications is successful bidder for bankrupt Datran microwave system.


1977: FCC Execunet Decision allows MCI and other SCCs to provide switched long-distance services... Satellite Business Systems--joint venture of IBM, Comstat General and Aetna Casualty--gets FCC authorization.

1978: District Judge Harold Greene assigned to divestiture case, replacing ailing Judge Waddy... MCI gets go-ahead to expand Execunet... AT&T required to provide additional interconnections... Charles Brown selected to become AT&T chairman when de Butts retires.

1979: Xerox proposes XTEN high-speed digital network using satellite channels and rooftop antennas at customer sites... FCC adopts tentative Computer Inquiry II rule, classifying services into voice, basic non-voice and enhanced non-voice categories... AT&T tells BOCs Northern Telecom's DMS-10 is now recommended as central-office switching system.

1980: Computer Inquiry II separates basic common carrier services, which remain regulated, from CPE and enhanced services, which do not... AT&T kills Telpak service.

1981: FCC Resale Decision permits resale and sharing of intercity phone service facilities... FCC DEMS Decision authorizes Digital Electronic Message Service in 10-GHz band, based on 1978 Xerox XTEN plan... Repeal of Section 222 of Communications Act, allowing Western Union back into international services, and international record carriers into domestic segment... AT&T and eight Bell operating companies get approval for fiber-optic system between New York and Washington... AT&T and Justice Department report "significant progress" toward settlement, causing Judge Greene to delay trial... After 10 years of proceedings, FCC authorizes commercial 800-MHz cellular radiotelephone service, with two systems per market.

1982: Divestiture plan paves way for reorganization of AT&T and Bell operating companies... FCC allows AT&T to provide overseas data services and international record carriers in order to extend services domestically... FCC says it will no longer regulate resellers with limited market power... GTE announces plans to acquire Southern Pacific's network operations.

1983: Judge Greene approves divestiture of American Telephone & Telegraph... Access charge plan levies extra charges on users... Ameritech starts first cellular service in Chicago.


1984: AT&T divestiture, effective Jan. 1, separates AT&T from seven new regional Bell operating companies RBOCs... GE converts to new Dialcomm private network... BOCs rush to sign contracts with equipment suppliers... FCC orders access charges on Centrex lines... BOCs ask FCC to waive separate subsidiary requirements... Debates continue on access charges... AT&T gets authorization to provide basic interstate services via resale... Airfone begins air-to-ground phone service... AT&T adopts international ISDN standards... MCI introduces virtual private-line service... Comm News celebrates 20th anniversary.


1985: BOCs get line-of-business waivers to offer office equipment as CPE... FCC okays privately owned international satellite systems... BOCs get waiver to perform async/X.25 protocol conversion... Wal-Mart begins using VSAT network to more than 750 stores... AT&T introduces Accunet Switched 56 service... Illinois Bell and McDonald's announce plans for first U.S. ISDN trial... Telcos ordered to allocate equal-access traffic of customers not designating a long-distance carrier, based on percentage of ballots that do... FCC launches Computer Inquiry III... FCC okays 6% decrease in special access tariffs.


1986: MCI settles antitrust suit against AT&T and Bell operating companies (BOCs) for undisclosed amount... Spring and US Telecommunications 50/50 partnership approved... MCI buys SBS from IBM in exchange for 16.6% of MCI shares... British Telecom buys Mitel... Computer III Decision removes structural separation requirements from AT&T and BOCs, allowing provision of enhanced services under one organization, effective February 1988... BOCs win suit to provide exchange services out of their territory.

1987: FCC begins looking at major deregulation... FCC Chairman Patrick proposes "price cap" plan. Debates on subject continue throughout year... NTIA head Alfred Sikes (now new FCC chairman) calls for increased deregulation of BOCs... GTE does first ISDN test in California... Hughes Aircraft buys M/A-Com Telecommunications (now Hughes Network Systems)... National Satellite Paging begins first nationwide paging service...Contel ASC buys VSAT and data network units of Comsat International, and acquires Equatorial Communications... Judge Greene keeps major BOC restrictions (long distance and manufacturing) but makes decision to allow them to transmit information services (BOCs can't control content)... Judge Greene says that Bell companies don't need waivers to enter non-communications businesses... Cellular service users hit 1 million...GSA decides on 60/40 split for FTS-2000 providers, not single bidder.


1988: Judge Greene widens manufacturing ban on BOCs to include equipment R&D... Politics and scandal threaten government FTS-2000 plan. AT&T/US Sprint get contract... BOCs file ONA outlines... Elaborate telecomm systems in Atlanta for Democratic National Convention... Hughes Aircraft buys Western Union Westar satellite system... FCC okays Pan American Satellite's service to Europe... Westinghouse creates separate unit to offer communications services... AT&T files Tariff 12 and 15 plans... GTE sells 30% more of Sprint to United Telecom.

1989: Cellular subscribers hit 2 million... Price-cap debates rage on... Legislation is considered against "junk fax"... Greene lets AT&T enter electronic publishing... IBM/Rolm-Siemens pact completed.

1990: Data managers move to interconnecting LANs into WANs via FDDI. Outsourcing becomes the industry buzzword for unemployed... Average base salary for a telecomm manager is $84,500, according to an ICA study.

1991: The Internet "suddenly" is the rage for wireheads... General Motors launches the world's largest VSAT network. Comm News is sold to Nelson Publishing.

1992: TRIP '92, and the "golden splice" marks the beginning of nationwide ISDN services in the United States... Bill McGowan, founder of MCI, dies.

1993: World Trade Center bombing sends data and voice managers scrambling to review disaster recovery plans. Europe Commission approves Open Network Provision which says tariffs must be related to cost... Users finally see true 800 number portability after much back-and-forth with carriers... The first personal digital assistants (PDA) hit the market; they are expensive and sometimes work.


1994: It's 10 years since deregulation and the sky hasn't fallen... AT&T continues to try to get out from under the Consent Decree... International long-distance calling rates plummet as carriers try to hold market share... Value-added services, like call center management, are added to international packages.


1995: Bellcore introduces the interchangeable numbering plan area (NPA) codes, the most substantial change to the North American Numbering Plan since its inception... First places to see area codes which don't have a 0 or 1 as the middle digit are Chicago, Alabama, Washington and Arizona.

1996: The Nov. 15, 1996, deadline to be in complete compliance with the Clean Air Act forces firms to cut the number of employees coming to work... Telecommuting lets them do that, and adds impetus to remote connectivity solutions.

1997: The proliferation of LEOS (low earth-orbit satellites) puts more pressure on the international long-distance tariffs as the extra available bandwidth gives decision-makers yet another bargaining tool with carriers... Someone discovers a good reason to have video telephones in the home... Data communications standards advance beyond the level of the Bulgarian telephone system...A floating headset, which just hovers by your mouth and ear, is invented for call center operators.

1998: End users will send more data traffic than voice traffic over the public telephone network... First videoconferencing "frequent users program" introduced... Industry newcomers can't remember what came before client/server... Europe sees opening of telephony on the continent.

1999: Cable television companies finally get FCC's cautious approval to provide local and long-distance service, setting off yet another boom of mergers and acquisitions... Investors are delighted; data and voice communications buyers are frazzled... Fiber finally makes it in the local loop.

2000: With all data and voice solutions finally in place, the communications department is reassigned to spend the year planning the great corporate party for the millennium.

Something old, something new

In October of 1964, Bruce B. Howat, Ray Smith and others from Brookhill Publishing brought out a new tabloid called COMMUNICATIONS NEWS Its tag line was "Covering the total communications market" and its slogan "All that's new and newsworthy in voice, signal and data communications."

Howat outlined the editorial concept: "We want readers who are really responsible for operation of a communication system...and we want every one of them to look forward to receiving COMMUNICATIONS NEWS with assurance that they will find therein genuinely helpful news about the very things that they are working that will help them do a continually better job of providing communications facilities."

Bruce Howat has since passed away, and Ray Smith retired in August after a distinguished career as publisher of Telephone Engineer & Management/America's Network. CN has gone from tabloid to standard magazine size, but we still cover the "total communications market" even if we now call it the "networking and information management market." And we've dropped signal communications from the slogan while adding video, image and multimedia to voice and data.

Our editorial concept has remained consistent, though. CN is written for and by the people responsible for communications network systems at end-user organizations. We hope that you look forward to receiving CN, find the information within genuinely helpful and that it helps you do a better job. We plan to continue to give you articles about how your peers are solving their communications problems and improving their networks. And we'll continue to keep the stories short and to the point.

But, as I'm sure you've noticed, we are presenting the stories in a changed style. The new type styles, layouts and graphics are designed to make CN easier to read and should help save you time.

Consider the redesign as our 30th birthday present to you. We hope you like it. Please let us have your comments.
COPYRIGHT 1994 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1994 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes related article about Communications News' history and 30th-anniversary redesign
Publication:Communications News
Date:Oct 1, 1994
Previous Article:Managing 30 years into the future.
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