[LINK] Dr Bell's Testimony to 1910 PMG Royal Commission

Tom Koltai tomk at unwired.com.au
Thu Nov 3 12:44:59 AEDT 2011

Great Stuff. Thankyou Marghanita and Tom, the documentation is almost
crystal ball like in it's content....

Some words of Wisdom from Bell to the Government :

"I remember in America when fires took place, in large cities the
telephone wires would be cut down by the fire brigades, as the overhead
wires interfered with their work. Then, again, a storm would disorganize
the system, and the wires
would get crossed. Then we had, disturbances from high, potential
electric light circuits and trolley wires, which completed the
The majority of the wires are now underground. To get a satisfactory
service 'it' is imperative. to have metallic circuits and advisable to
have an underground system, although it is expensive in the first
I may say that you are corroborating what the members of this Commission
have recommended in their report 
I am very glad to hear it. 
For underground conduits; do you prefer iron piping, or ,earthenware
conduits? That is a mere matter of detail upon which I hesitate to
express an opinion. The main point is that it is very advisable if you
want a permanent system to have the wires, underground.

Undoubtedly the expenses for maintenance and depreciation, are less when
the wires are placed underground than in overhead circuits; they are of
a more permanent and enduring character.

Granting that the underground system is the better .for the trunk lines,
what about the household subscriber; Are his wires placed underground in
America (-Yes, in the large cities there are no poles at all. The
underground system goes right up to every building or block of buildings
as far as possible. The more wires you can get underground the more
permanent they are, and the less expensive to maintain; but I am not
competent to, speak upon the point as to whether the increased outlay
required. is more than recouped by the saving in maintenance and
depreciation, there. is undoubtedly a great saving, but as to what
extent it would pay to underground them in Melbourne, I do not know."

-- There we have it, The father of the Telephone suggests metallic
circuits installed underground (mainly it seems to prevent disaster from
firemen and storms).

It would seem to me that even without knowing about bushfires in
Australia, Alexnder's words were prophetically wise.
Why is it then that a hundred years later, our Government still chooses
not to listen to his advice. Specifically when the historical
maintenance records of Telstra/Telecom/PMG would prove without a doubt
the long term financial benefit of underground instalation.

Ahh, I know. It is either that firemen are now prohibited from chopping
down telegraph poles or that we have banished trolley/tram wires.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: link-bounces at mailman.anu.edu.au 
> [mailto:link-bounces at mailman.anu.edu.au] On Behalf Of Tom Worthington
> Sent: Thursday, 3 November 2011 8:26 AM
> To: link at mailman.anu.edu.au
> Subject: Re: [LINK] Dr Bell's Testimony to 1910 PMG Royal Commission
> On 02/11/11 17:03, Marghanita da Cruz wrote:
> > ... Dr Bell's Testimony to the Royal Commission to the Postmaster 
> > General's Department, 1910  ...
> Some of the report and evidence to the Royal Commission on Postal 
> Services 1910 is at:  http://www.digecon.info/history009.htm
> -- 
> Tom Worthington FACS CP, TomW Communications Pty Ltd. t: 
> 0419496150 PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia  
http://www.tomw.net.au Liability limited by a scheme approved under
Professional Standards 

Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Research School of Computer Science, Australian
National University http://cs.anu.edu.au/courses/COMP7310/
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