I appreciate your comment on pen and paper - technologies that have been
mass produced, with most of the bugs worked out, for well over 100
years...if only the same could be said for Microsoft...

The telephone is another 100 year old technology with most of the bugs
worked out. I include a snippet from a recent paper for the -
Agricultural Extension Transforming ICTs: Championing Rural Access -


The telephone is the most basic unit of telecommunications service. The
policies and programs implemented in support of rural telephony services
are a critical part of the supporting environment for other rural ICT
initiatives. In most cases rural connectivity can best piggyback on or
leverage infrastructure that is primarily intended to support rural
telephony. Among rural populations, voice communications will usually be
the most immediately useful and easily accessible service (application).

In addition, a great deal of evidence shows that telephone services are the
primary source of revenue for rural telecommunication services. Without
that revenue, operators would have no justification to extend their
networks to rural areas, and these networks are critical for supporting
other applications like the Internet. For example, many research studies
on telecentres and phone shops that provide both Internet and telephone
services conclude that voice communications (i.e. phone calls) provide the
overwhelming majority of telecentre revenues. For these reasons, it is
important to examine in detail the rural telephony policy and programmatic
issues that form part of the operating environment for broader rural
ICT/connectivity initiatives. Basic telephone services enable agricultural
extension stakeholders to creatively integrate a wide variety of other ICT
applications that would not otherwise be possible.   


Don Richardson, PhD.
TeleCommons Development Group
Stantec Consulting
361 Southgate Drive
Guelph, Ontario
N1G 3M5
Tel: 519-836-6050; Fax: 519-836-2493
Web: or

Peter Burgess wrote:

> Whatever happened to the idea of pen and paper, and typewriter
> (manual)?

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