US finally deregulates telegraph service

“The FCC said in a notice it was removing ‘outmoded regulations’ on telegraphs effective in November.” And none too soon: “The last Western Union telegram in the United States was sent in 2006” and the “last major telegram service worldwide ended in India in 2013.” [David Shepardson, Reuters via @AjitPaiFCC]

AT&T Inc, originally known as the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, in 2013 lamented the FCC’s failure to formally stop enforcing some telegraph rules.

“Regulations have a tendency to persist long after they outlived any usefulness and it takes real focus and effort to ultimately remove them from the books even when everyone agrees that it is the common sense thing to do,” the company said.

In Chapter 8 of The Litigation Explosion I used the old body of law concerning liability for mishandled telegrams to illustrate the contrast between damages that were direct and certain on the one hand, and speculative on the other. And in 2011 I observed that Connecticut had yet to get around to repealing old state laws like those regulating the working conditions of telegraph messengers (cross-posted at Cato at Liberty).

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