Last call for telegraph companies, says FCC

15 February 2015 by Steve Blum

Does this mean the end of the candygram too?

Just in time to bring broadband service under its regulatory umbrella, the FCC is doing some clean up work on its common carrier rules. It’s proposing to completely delete regulations it either hasn’t officially enforced in many years or are simply outdated, and to begin erasing telegraph from its vocabulary.

The first step, it seems, is to find out if telegraph service exists anymore…

We seek comment on whether there are any providers offering telegraph service today at all, and if so, whether such service offerings warrant retaining the term “telegraph” in the rules…Would there be any practical impact if the Commission were to delete “telegraph” from these rules?

If there are still telegraph companies out there, the FCC wants to let them know they can get out of Dodge anytime…

To the extent that any entities are still providing telegraph service, we intend to exempt telegraph service from all exit regulation by exercising our forbearance authority and we seek comment on whether we should do so.

Western Union formally exited the business of delivering telegrams in 2006. I’ve received a few in my life – the last was in 1981 – but all arrived via U.S. mail. Instead of sending a delivery boy out on a bicycle, Western Union just dropped off a batch of telegrams at the post office and let them take care of it from there.

Comments are due in March and can be submitted electronically or on paper. If you want to file by telegram, you’re in luck: “messenger delivery” is specifically allowed.