Telephone service on the North American continent and on some of the adjacent major islands is currently furnished by approximately 3000 different companies. A somewhat similar situation exists in other parts of the world (in which, however, the different telephone administrations usually are organized along the lines of national boundaries). Interconnections between these many separate systems is taken for granted. Some problems of -compatibility- in rendering continent-wide telephone service have been with us for many years but only recently, with the introduction of machine switching of calls, have some new major problems of compatibility become a factor. This paper outlines some of these problem areas and touches on the contributions made to their solution by the -Independent- segment of the industry in the U.S.A.
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