TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Unlisted Phone Number

Re: Unlisted Phone Number
23 Mar 2007 19:45:02 -0700

Mr Joseph Singer wrote:

>> The same article reported that Direct Distance Dialing (1+) was
>> available for all NYC subscribers.

> New York City subscribers never used 1+ they either dialed 7 digits or
> a 3 digit area code and 7 digits ...

In that context, by "1", I meant station-to-station calls, as opposed
to person, collect, T&C, calling card, etc. Sorry for any

For 1960, I think it's pretty remarkable that NYC and many of its
suburbs had DDD service. But NYC was a pioneer in network management.
It had to be, with the enormous volume of calls within and between the
city and Long Island, Westchester county, and New Jersey.

It's also notable that much of the country, at least 11 states, were
not as yet equipped to receive DDD calls. We forget that the
implementation of DDD required both new equipment at the sending end
as well as new equipment and often numbering changes at the receiving
end. It's one thing to assign everyone a unique ten digit number
nationwide, but quite another to convert local switchgear to
accomodate it. It's also impressive in that the "logic" to handle
billing records, signalling, and routing, was all done by relays.

The NYC area was also a pioneer on direct-dialed operator handled
calls (0+ and coin station called "TSP"). Some parts of the area had
a "pre-TSP" service in the mid-1950s as a trial. I'm not exactly sure
when NYC got TSP service but I think it was in the very early 1960s.
TSP was a major boon to operator productivity.

On some website I read that Bell developed a service life extender for
cord switchboards. They replaced the old 10 button dial keyset with a
computer entry keypad which let the operator enter the AMA information
directly instead of writing up a charge ticket and a computer handled
supervision and timing automatically. If anyone knows more about how
this worked, would you post details? I think the operator still
manipulated the cords for the connection. Actually, I think by the
1960s on station calls coding the charge tickets took more time than
establishing the connection, and the operators' job was more clerical.

I think by then for most calls the operator merely plugged into any
outward trunk and dialed the 10 digit number, the switching did the
rest automatically. DDD was essentially adding billing records (AMA)
to that process.

As an aside, although TSP/TSPS was automatic, full provision was made
for operators to fill out their own charge tickets in the traditional
fashion and maintain close supervision of a call. I'm not sure what
kind of calls required that extra handling, unless perhaps there was
an AMA failure. Every operator had a full stock of blank tickets and
the special pencil for them. There were slots in the console to hold
the card during a call.

(The manual charge tickets were actually blank mark sense punched
cards. They were fed through an IBM machine which translated the
markings into punches, then regular IBM machines processed the cards.
Bell used this system well into the 1970s even though the card gear
dated from the late 1940s. Bell also used such cards as a turnaround
document for customer's bills.)

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