The Rise and Demise of Long Distance Calls

This year marks the 108th anniversary of the first coast-to-coast telephone call in the United States. Alexander Graham Bell placed the call from New York City to San Francisco in January 1915, and it took over ten minutes to connect. By then, American Telephone and Telegraph Company’s network spanned the continent with a single copper circuit measuring 6,800 miles. It could carry precisely one phone call at a time. It also required an operator in each city along the way to make the switchboard connections.


Commercial long-distance service followed shortly thereafter, and a three-minute call cost $20.70, or about $485 today.


Long-distance calls required the use of intermediary operators for the next four decades. Finally, in November 1951, direct long-distance calls became a reality. The mayor of Englewood, New Jersey called the mayor of Alameda, California, with a connection time of only 18 seconds.


By 1963, Europeans caught on with the introduction of London to Paris calls. It took as late as 1970 for technology to allow for direct long-distance calls from New York City to London.

As technology improved, long distance became a household standard. Its popularity also led to fierce competition among long-distance providers. The mega Bell System monopoly was broken up in 1984, resulting in a nearly 40% drop in the cost of making a long-distance call. The number of long-distance calls placed doubled in the five years that followed. Through the 1990s, long-distance carriers lowered rates measured in dollars per minute to as low as a nickel for a sixty-second call. They offered up to $100 bill credit incentives and drastically reduced international call charges. People were connecting like never before without geography as a hindrance.

Nothing stays the same, and this is true of the telecommunications industry. Cellular phone technology completely changed the game. It was the beginning of a cutting-the-cord revolution. Within two decades, over half of U.S. households had ditched their landlines to rely on cell phones as their primary method of communication. Cell phones got smart, and so did computers.

The 21st century welcomed the world wide web with open arms and high expectations. Lightning-fast connection anywhere in the world through the Internet has hastened the demise of long-distance calls. VoIP was introduced specifically to save money on long-distance and international calling. Companies began to notice that VoIP offered increased speed and lower cost while offering even better quality. Broadband made connections even faster. This came in handy with the advent of instant messaging, video calls, web conferencing, and more.

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Our cloud-based communication system connects your employees, clients, and stakeholders across the city and across the globe. Our state-of-the-technology provides clear and reliable communication solutions. Our customer service is still just as personable as the first operator that connected Alexander Graham Bell to his assistant three thousand miles away. Here at Gabbit, we stay on the cutting edge of VoIP with a platform that leverages reliable and proven SIP technology. Gabbit continually expands our network and adds customer-requested features, now numbering over 70 unique options. Our service is reliable; our technology is state of the art. Reach your employees and reach your goals. Say more and spend less with Gabbit. Give us a call at 855-542-2248.