Summary - TST 21


TST 21

Ángel Calvo
Sueños rotos. El fracaso de un sistema telefónico público en España, 1877-1924

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Key Words: Communication networks, History of Communications, Telephone, Public services, Regional development, Market organisation.

[ Abstract ]

This paper delves into the reasons for the failure of a public telephone network in Spain, despite the fact that this network felt into the scope of the Government, whose competent body – the Post and Telegraph Office (PTO) – wanted to have it under control, and that there were public networks of non-State entities. In this endeavour, the article examines the response given by the intended beneficiaries, i.e. towns and cities of Spain, to the projects of the PTO prior to 1924, the creation date of the regulated monopoly of the Compañía Telefónica Nacional de España by the North American ITT. As hypothesis it maintains that projects failed in the financial plan and that, ultimately, they lacked viability. This paper forms part of a highly topical research field, calling for researching the history of telecommunications in Southern Europe, from the approach of microhistory. Recourse to the path of the concrete example for purpose of a general explanation and relies primarily on unpublished primary sources. In conclusion, it attributes the failure to a sum of administrative, technical, political, business and especially financial reasons.