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In India, the Dot Dash Is Done 86

Posted by timothy
from the clackity-clackity-dot-dot-dot dept.
cold fjord writes that, as promised last month, telegraph service in India is being honorably retired: "Only 7 years behind the US. From Forbes: '... in India, where I'm now sojourning, telegraph service has survived as a basic means of communication since the British East India Company sent the first telegram from Calcutta to nearby Diamond Harbor in 1850... As of July 15, the state company that runs the telegraph service is shutting it down. ... "For long, the telegraph was eyed with suspicion as an emblem of imperial rule," editorialized The Indian Express ... "Yet it brought various parts of the country together and eventually entered the traffic of everyday life. When the telegraph winds up, one of the oldest markers of a modern India will be lost. Stop" — the word that typically ended brief telegraphic phrases rather than periods. Until fairly recently, several hundred thousand messages a day moved over the wires of the telegraph system ...' From NBC: 'When it was completed in 1856, the Indian telegraph stretched over 4,000 miles ... Tom Standage, author of "The Victorian Internet" writes, the early telegraph networks were responsible for "hype, skepticism, hackers, on-line romances and weddings, chat-rooms, flame wars, information overload, predictions of imminent world peace."'"
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In India, the Dot Dash Is Done

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  • by Frankie70 (803801) on Monday July 15, 2013 @02:27AM (#44282027)

    Landline penetration was never good in India.

    Hence telegrams were used by people who wanted to contact people without telephones urgently.

    Also telegrams were common during weddings even upto 10 years ago. People who were in cities other than were the couple were getting married typically sent their best wishes to the address given in the wedding card because people won't be at home on that day to pick up the telephone. And telegrams had 20-25 numeric codes for standard messages which made it cheap to send telegrams. If the message you wanted to send was one of the standard 20-25 messages you just send the number as the telegram rather than the message. The receiving telegram office would convert it back to the full message before delivering.

    Cell phones essentially killed both of the above scenarios. And cell phone in India is massive as compared to land lines ever were.

  • what dot dash (Score:5, Informative)

    by ewanm89 (1052822) on Monday July 15, 2013 @03:17AM (#44282157) Homepage

    This wasn't using Morse, in fact outside amateur radio, Morse hasn't really been used for several decades now. Until 2010 this would have been using teletype printers, likely using baudot or Murray code, neither of which use a dash even if one-off keyed. In 2010 the. Company in India upgraded.to a 'web based system's, according to Wikipedia.

  • Re:what dot dash (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 15, 2013 @04:00AM (#44282267)

    There is loads of misinformation going around on this topic.
    It was also claimed that this was the world's last telegram service to shut down, and this is not true at all.
    Many telegram services are still operating, also in India.
    Poor research, I would say.

  • Re:Stop. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chrisq (894406) on Monday July 15, 2013 @04:17AM (#44282295)

    the word that typically ended brief telegraphic phrases rather than periods

    It is a period. This is like saying that people used a dash instead of a hyphen.

    Though a stop and a period are the same, a dash is not a hyphen [wikipedia.org]:

    The hyphen () is a punctuation mark used to join words and to separate syllables of a single word. The use of hyphens is called hyphenation. The hyphen should not be confused with dashes ( –, — ), which are longer and have different uses, or with the minus sign, which is also longer.

  • by ls671 (1122017) on Monday July 15, 2013 @04:56AM (#44282363) Homepage

    "the charges for mobile service were 36rs(~1$ back in 1998)"

    And now you have to call to in Africa and a few other places to see high rates close to that:

    5321,Cuba - Guantanamo,0.7696$/minute
    22176,Senegal - Tigo Mobile,0.6748$/minute
    24105,Gabon - Moov Mobile,0.5238$/minute
    252225,Somalia - Soltelco,0.5500$/minute
    25778,Burundi - Africel Mobile,0.4460$/minute
    56322100,Chile - Easter Island,0.4600$/minute
    2207,Gambia - Africell Mobile,0.4164$/minute
    22469,Guinea - Areeba Mobile,0.4028$/minute

    India indeed got a lot cheaper:
    917579,India - Bsnl Mobile,0.0134$/minute
    9182310,India - Mobile,0.0122$/minute

  • Re:Chat rooms? (Score:5, Informative)

    Can confirm this from experience with military telex and morse operation networks on ssb shortwave. Chat, chat, chat 'til you drop dead, just in order not to drop dead from boredom.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday July 15, 2013 @06:47AM (#44282637) Journal

    It probably doesn't help(for the survival of telegraphs) that cellphones encheapen exactly the same part of the process that is most expensive with telegram service.

    Unless you want telegram service to be about as useful as media mail, in terms of timeliness, you need a pretty aggressive short-haul postal service running out of the telegraph office. Technology presumably reduced the price of transmission links between offices(at least in places where it was worth upgrading, rather than just milking the legacy copper); but you still have to collect the text on one end, and have somebody run out and deliver it on the other. Even with arbitrarily cheap data transmission, you've still got a postal service hanging off all your endpoints.

    With cellphones, the technology and bandwidth requirements are higher; but now the messages deliver themselves from the sender to the tower and from the tower to the recipient.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 15, 2013 @09:41AM (#44283683)

    There is still telegraph service in India. It's just the state run provider shutting down.

    Source [arstechnica.com]

  • Telex Machines... (Score:5, Informative)

    by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Monday July 15, 2013 @09:58AM (#44283873)
    A century ago telegrams were sent using morse, but in the last 80 years or so, a 'telegram' doesn't / didn't mean 'morse code.'

    When Roger O. Thornhill sends a telegram in North by Northwest it would have gone by telex machine. The 'Congratulations!' telegrams we sent and received in my youth were sent by telex.

    ...same deal in India. Telex, not morse

    http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/800px-Telex_machine_ASR-32-640x426.jpg [arstechnica.net]
  • by Frankie70 (803801) on Monday July 15, 2013 @10:17AM (#44284091)

    In India and most countries outside of the USA, landline numbers and mobile numbers have a different format

    Landline numbers = Area Code + Number
    Cell Numbers = one long 10 digit number (there is no area code)

    Because of this, there cannot be portability between landline and Cell numbers.

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