The Phone Company

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The Phone Company was a volunteer network providing a free email-to-fax service.[1]

It was one of the few grandfathered users of the '.int' domain. The website's address was tpc.int. The address is no longer reachable. Archives in the Wayback Machine document this lost site of the early Internet.

Dating from 1993, it is historically notable for being one of the earliest examples of how a community on the internet disrupted the heavily regulated long distance telephone network. In 1993, fax machines were still relatively new technology, driving an increase in demand for long distance (both foreign and domestic). As background, using the newer technology of e-mail to send the sort of documents and correspondence that fax machines typically transmitted through the internet was cheaper, faster, and higher quality. The community was organized to integrate the new technology of e-mail transmission through the internet with old technology of audio transmissions by fax machines. The community arose at a time when it was often thought that the internet would soon free every single person in the world to communicate freely with each other. It was organized to help facilitate that communication freely between people by:

1) maintaining instructions for using the network to send documents

2) keeping indexes (databases) of telephone numbers and email addresses that could receive the document

3) stating the share social mores of the community (these are often known as standards of etiquette or codes of conduct)

It is important to note the distinction between actively policing a community for "bad" behavior and simply stating general expectations of how people act. This volunteer organization was an early example of an international democratic movement of individuals to subvert the relatively less democratic, state-based (United Nations-managed if transmitting internationally) system of long distance telephone charges. It is somewhat ironic now to note this internationally subversive effect of the organization alongside the more recent development that the ".int" Top Level Domain is now the world's most exclusive Internet address neighborhood, now restricted only to organizations having a supranational status. For example, in 2006 (before the popular legitimacy/strength of the Union began to dramatically weaken in the 2010s), the European Union's was removed from the ".int" Top Level Domain, and given its own ".eu" domain with less restrictive membership requirements.

It takes its name from the similarly named organisation in the film The President's Analyst.[1]

This service became available since 1993, although it has been off-line in recent years.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c The Phone Company's Remote Printing Service: The History of TPC.INT, ThePhoneCompany.int website. Retrieved 21 August 2010. Archived July 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]