Belgium ends 19th-Century telegram service

Belgium ends 19th-Century telegram service

One hundred and seventy-one years after the first electrical message was transmitted down a line running alongside the railway between Brussels and Antwerp the final dispatch will be sent and received on 29 December. The fact that this 19th-Century technology is still up and running in the age of Instagram and Snapchat may seem rather odd - especially when you consider that the UK, which invented the telegram in the 1830s, abandoned it as long ago as 1982. The United States followed suit in 2006 and even India, which had been by far the world's biggest market for the telegram, finally closed its system down in 2013.

But with a "flash" telegram costing €23.75 (£21) for a basic 20 words, plus €0.90 for delivery in and around Brussels, it is not difficult to see why the system is struggling to survive in the age of unlimited texting on cheap mobile phone tariffs.

It is pretty retro tech but it was the Twitter of its day where senders, paying by the word, had to come up with ways to use as few words as possible. I remember seeing some real telegrams a few decades back!

See http://bbc.in/2BaJSD8


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