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Alberta's Telephone Heritage
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The Telephone's Role in Alberta

Wooden wall telephoneThe telephone era brought about many changes to the prairie lands of Alberta. Until that time, communication in this large westerly province was unreliable and often too slow in matters of importance. Many rural communities lived in near isolation from the rest of the province. When the first telephone poles were erected and the first wires strung, the pioneers who made this happen could not have predicted the effect their experimentation would have. The telephone network took off, and was soon thriving all over Alberta. People were suddenly able to hear the voice of loved ones who lived far away, or instantly call for help in emergencies. All they had to do was pick up a receiver.

Listen! The creation of Alberta Government Telephones in 1907 was instrumental in connecting urban and rural communities in Alberta by telephone. There were several advantages to using a public system. Rates were kept low, and communities that would never have received phone service with private companies otherwise were connected. Narrator Cheryl Croucher and Historian Don Wetherell discuss this turning point in Alberta’s communications history. Listen!

Listen! Alberta Government Telephones (AGT) was made into a Crown Corporation in order to allow it to service rural communities. Its network expanded rapidly after 1908 in part to alleviate the fears of isolation experienced by those Alberta citizens living in farms or small rural communities with limited services. Host Cheryl Croucher and Historian Don Wetherell describe the embracing of new telephone technology in the young Province of Alberta. Listen!

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