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Communications

India To Send World's Last Telegram 205

Posted by Soulskill
from the unless-we-decide-to-get-away-from-PRISM dept.
New submitter afarhan writes "India will pull the plug on its 160-year-old telegram service on 14 July, this year. This will probably be the last telegram ever sent in the world. However, telegrams are still relevant in this vast country. More than 500 million people are still without access to a phone or Internet. For these people, telegram still remains the only digital communication available. 'At their peak in 1985, 60 million telegrams were being sent and received a year in India from 45,000 offices. Today, only 75 offices exist, though they are located in each of India's 671 districts through franchises. And an industry that once employed 12,500 people, today has only 998 workers.' In India, telegram is also considered a legal correspondence."
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India To Send World's Last Telegram

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  • by interval1066 (668936) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @05:16PM (#44017319) Homepage Journal
    Reports say that as India pulls the plug on the system the last telegram in its buffers will be Ambassador Zimmerman asking Mexico if it would like to join Germany in attacking America. India reported to be indifferent on the subject.
  • not the world's last (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Trepidity (597) <.delirium-slashdot. .at. .hackish.org.> on Saturday June 15, 2013 @05:16PM (#44017323)

    When Western Union discontinued its telegraph service in 2006, it sold off the network to iTelegram [itelegram.com], which inexplicably still seems to be in business.

    • When Western Union discontinued its telegraph service in 2006, it sold off the network to iTelegram [itelegram.com], which inexplicably still seems to be in business.

      Aside from countries where telegrams have entrenched legal status, I imagine that the 'novelty' market alone could probably sustain a telegraph operator well into the future.

      As long as there is a nonzero supply of people who want to score charm and novelty points by sending somebody a telegram(and they do have some level of popular recognition and ye olde charme from period fiction and pop history), you have a customer base, and it's not as though there is anything requiring you to actually transmit the thi

    • by dr_dank (472072)

      Looking at the sample telegram [itelegram.com], you can tell that theres at least one diehard Twilight Zone fan in that company.

    • by pjt33 (739471)

      In the UK, the Queen still sends people telegrams on their 100th birthday.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 15, 2013 @05:25PM (#44017361)

    Well sorry for the Article but it's actually false :) Telegram is still alive and kicking in Europe ... for instance in Belgium where you can still send Telegrams right now !
    Here is the national telecommunication operator page about it :

    www.belgacom.be/en/private/products-and-services/fixed-telephony/options-and-services/other-services?page=p_other_services_available
            Telegram

            There are several formulas to choose from:
                    Comfort Telegram
                    A telegram ordered via the post.
                            With an illustration for offering condolences or congratulations.
                            Without an illustration.
                    The Standard National Telegram
                    The "conventional", revised and corrected telegram delivered by Taxipost, our courier service. Telegrams sent before midday are delivered the same day; those sent after midday are delivered the next working day at the latest.
                    The Flash Telegram
                    The quickest method. As soon as our telegraph operators receive your telegram, our courier service makes a special delivery as quickly as possible. It is also possible to send a Flash Telegram and add a gift.

    For international messages, your telegram will be sent by our telegraphists to the country of destination. It is delivered in accordance with the terms and conditions of express delivery in the country concerned.

  • ...I am only 53 so I will never get one from the Queen when I am 100. Oh well.

    • by Longjmp (632577)

      ...I am only 53 so I will never get one from the Queen when I am 100. Oh well.

      The Queen will probably be a King anyway by that time...
      Ok, you'll never know how long the current one lives, and you'll never know what Charles' next surgery will be, so YMMV ;)

      • by Kjella (173770)

        ...I am only 53 so I will never get one from the Queen when I am 100. Oh well.

        The Queen will probably be a King anyway by that time... Ok, you'll never know how long the current one lives, and you'll never know what Charles' next surgery will be, so YMMV ;)

        Well considering the telegram would have to be 47 years from now, Charles would have to live to 111. Must be a frustrating life, he's now 64 and in an age where most are looking to settle into retirement he's still waiting for the "job" he's been chosen to do from birth. And if her mother is anything like her mother again, it might still take another 15 years because I definitively think this is going to be one of those "over my dead body" successions.

        • by Longjmp (632577)

          [...] And if her mother is anything like her mother again, [...]

          You are saying he did it already?

          (Sorry, couldn't resist)

        • Or, maybe Charles realises how lucky he is to be a 64-year-old whose parents are both alive and well and hopes the day never comes when he takes on that "job". The Windsors may not impress me, but don't strike me as being like the Borgias.

        • Well considering the telegram would have to be 47 years from now, Charles would have to live to 111. Must be a frustrating life, he's now 64 and in an age where most are looking to settle into retirement he's still waiting for the "job" he's been chosen to do from birth. And if her mother is anything like her mother again, it might still take another 15 years because I definitively think this is going to be one of those "over my dead body" successions.

          I know a lot of us are hoping that Liz outlives Charles. Charles is a nutjob who hasn't found an alternative medicine he doesn't like, and he earns a decent penny selling all kinds of woo.

          We are one elderly woman's heartbeat away from having a fraudster and a lunatic as a head of state. Granted that'd probably improve relations

  • by bradorsomething (527297) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @05:46PM (#44017489)
    Is appears the article is wrong about telegram services ending over all, and they actually won't Stop
    • Hawkeye: Dear Dad, I am not dead. Stop. Hope you are the same. Stop. Thinking of selling my golf clubs? Stop. Spending my insurance money? Stop.

  • and in the usa faxes are legal correspondences as well

  • If you're interested in an amateur, as opposed to a commercial, version of a radiotelegraph network, have a look at the National Traffic System [arrl.org]. This system, created in the 1940s, has many features that predate modern digital networks, including a Request To Send / Clear To Send (RTS/CTS) system, and separate logical channels for network control and data.

  • In 1997 I has at the US consulate in Melbourne organising visas for myself and my then partner. It got complicated and the consulate had to send a telex to the US to deal with the issue. Obviously we used email for organising the rest of the trip.

  • by houghi (78078) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @06:22PM (#44017615)

    In Belgium [belgacom.be] you can still send a telegram.
    So no idea where this idea comes from that it isn't available anywhere anymore. If Belgium has it and even has International AND Intercontinental prices, there must be at least two other countries that have it.

  • MIGRATING (Score:5, Funny)

    by arielCo (995647) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @06:34PM (#44017659)

    TELEGRAPH SERVICE SHUTTING DOWN TELL MOTHER RAJESH MUST LEARN TWITTER FOLLOW ME AT ANAND UNDERSCORE BANDYOPADHYAY STOP

    (Silly filter, telegrams *are* printed in all caps). Lorem ipsum something something dies irae dies illa solvet seclum in favilla.

    • by stox (131684)

      The reason they are all CAPS is that they are transmitted using Baudot Code, a 5 level code with no lower case and a very limited set of symbols.

      • by arielCo (995647)

        Good - I knew that the character set was limited but not the name of the code. Now Anand can use punctuation for free. (:

      • by Longjmp (632577)

        [...] are transmitted using Baudot Code, a 5 level code [...]

        Thus telegraph messages were usually preceded with "CZCZ" (or something similar) to make sure you are in "letter shift", i.e. the following characters were letters, not numbers or special characters.

      • by pe1chl (90186)

        Actually, companies like Siemens recognized even in those days that lowercase is easier on the eye than UPPERCASE and many
        of their telex machines printed only lowercase.

    • by PPH (736903)
      the navy is ceasing its use of all caps [cnn.com] as well. what's this world coming to?
    • by BenBoy (615230)

      dies irae dies illa solvet seclum in favilla.

      ... Requiem for Telegraph ...

  • It's more or less the same, right?
  • I think it's about time to answer the original question [wikipedia.org]:

    42 STOP

  • So it seems I can send a telegram inside venezuela, and to belgium at least, but not to indi come next month. Ok, I'll keep that in mind....

    From the post operator in Venezuela:
    http://www.ipostel.gob.ve/servicios.html

    Telegrama: Es un escrito destinado a ser transmitido por telegrafía para su entrega al destinatario, con cobertura nacional e internacional.

    Modalidades del Telegrama:

    Telegrama Ordinario: Son los telegramas cuya aceptación es obligatoria y no lleva ninguna indicación de servicio.

    Te

  • Irony (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MDMurphy (208495) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @09:35PM (#44018793)

    The end of the article gave me a chuckle. A guy is threatening to go on a hunger strike to keep the service going, insisting that it's a vital tool for fighting corruption ( presumably gov't corruption ) He sent his demands to the PM and others, via telegram of course. But someone at the telegraph office viewed the telegram as "objectionable" and have chosen not to deliver it.

    So while India might still accept telegrams as legal documents, having a communications medium that requires a man-in-the-middle to function seems to be one that is too easily thwarted by the man in the middle.

    Hopefully the guy on the hunger strike backed up his telegram with an email.

  • My first job was delivering telegrams (by bicycle) in downtown Buffalo during the 1960's.
    My Western Union office had its hours posted on the door: "We Never Close". The building's been torn down, so, in a sense, the message turned out to be true.

    Question: what'll happen to the American Telephone and Telegraph Corporation?

    Here in Berkeley, one of the main drags is Telegraph Avenue and a cell-phone store is named "Telegraph Wireless"

  • Service is still available in Argentima national post offices. About 3 usd per 20 words http://www.correoargentino.com.ar/precios/telegramas/nacionales [correoargentino.com.ar]
  • The telegram was from A.P. Tripathi, who runs an anticorruption nonprofit in Lucknow. Addressed to the president, prime minister, the minister for communications, and others, it said that he would engage in a Gandhian fast unto death if telegram services were shut down, and if he died, then the addressed officials would be responsible.

    Man threatens to starve himself to death and claims that I'm the one to blame. I can't see any way to respond to this other than to say "sure, sounds good".

Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.

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