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The Pushbutton Telephone Is Here

Nov. 14, 1963 - The era of the pushbutton telephone dawns next Monday. On that date, residents of Carnegie and Greensburg in western Pennsylvania will become the first in the nation to subscribe to the Bell Systems’ new “Touch-Tone” service. The service is expected to be generally available throughout the country by 1973. The most noticeable change from the standard equipment is in the front of the telephone itself. Gone are the 10-hole dials. In their place are 10 pushbuttons — three rows of three each, with the 10th — the “Operator” button — centered beneath. The chief advantage of the pushbuttons is speed plus ease and convenience of operations. Company tests have shown it takes an average of 10 seconds to dial a 7-digit telephone call. The same number can be “pushed” on buttons in two to five seconds. The two Pennsylvania sites were chosen for introduction of the “Touch-Tone” service because they were in one of the original test areas in 1960. Subscribers to the service next week will have to pay $5 for the installation of the new telephone plus a $1.50 monthly charge for each line into the house. One line can handle all the extensions. The AT&T’s version of the new telephone comes in all standard models and in a wide range of colors.


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