India’s telegraph service to shut down July 15

In an era where smartphones, SMS and the internet reigns supreme, it’s kind-of sad to learn that India’s 160-year-old telegraph service – which is still operational – will close down on July 15 this year.

The service, known as TAAR, is part of┬áBharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), India’s largest state-owned telecommunications company, headquartered in New Delhi.

According to a report in TechTree, no-one uses the service and haven’t used it for years – particularly when it cost Rs28 ($US0.50) to send a telegraph and SMSs there are virtually free.

The Times of India says the telegraph system was first used in India in 1850 between Culcutta and Diamond Harbour. It spread to a total of 6400kms three years later, with cable taking in Calcutta, Pershawar, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore. Telegrams were still being sent in their millions in India up until the 1990s but since then, the numbers of crash-dived, forcing BSNL’s decision to close down the operation.

While the telegraph system might seem slow and antiquated, it’ll be interesting to see just how many of today’s technologies are still around in 160 years’ time. We suspect not many.

We won’t be surprised to see BSNL/TAAR getting a rush of people wanting to send one last telegraph before the system is wound up.


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