When I was a small child and my English great-grandmother died, my grandfather (her son, here in Australia) needed to talk with his English family. It was an onerous task. He had to book a phone call to UK, wait some hours to be notified that a connection was possible and finally, as his Australian family sat around, he spoke, long distance—using a heavy, black Bakelite phone—to England.
It was not until 1963 that, what were called ‘trunk calls’, made it easier to speak by telephone to family or friends overseas; a sometime tricky thing to undertake—and the sound wasn’t great.
(I read that, “In the UK and the Commonwealth countries, a trunk call was the term for long-distance calling which traversed one or more trunk lines and involved more than one telephone exchange”, but still don’t know what the word ‘trunk’ implies in this context).
As time went by people accepted that phoning overseas was achievable, despite the cost.
At around 1976 to 1978, Australian STD (subscriber trunk dialling) was introduced. STD let telephone users make national and international calls without going through an operator.
Now, in 2022, once or twice a week, my son calls from the UK where he lives. My iPad plays a little jingle, I pick it up and ‘swipe’ the green button and there is my son, my daughter-in-law and my granddaughter.
Not only within clear hearing range but live, in full ‘technicolour’.
My granddaughter tells us about her latest school successes, and perhaps shows us something she has made. As we chat, my son takes his device outside to show us the latest progress in their UK back garden. Through this ‘facetime’ call we are able to be with family with ease.
This is telecommunication in the 21st century.
It is almost scary to imagine what the future in communication might eventually be like.
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.