Cadwallader, Neil Kenneth
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Elisha Gray may have had as much a claim on the invention of the telephone as did Alexander Graham Bell. Bell's patents allowed time for the Bell System to be developed and led to AT&T becoming the largest and most organized telephone company in the United States. AT&T, supported by government regulators, enveloped smaller telephone companies and controlled 80% of local service and all toll service by the 1920s. Government regulations supported AT&T's control of the nation's telephone network until the 1950s when the industry began to be deregulated. In 1984 AT&T was divested by court order and today's telecommunications market is characterized by continuing deregulation and increasing competition. Both telephone and data transmission are becoming more digital and service is provided by numerous carriers. New techniques for increasing the speed of data transfer are constantly being developed. Applications in the future will require much larger capacities than at present. Optical fiber will be the media used to bring greater bandwidth to homes and businesses. Communication will develop into a universal, personal, and portable capability.
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