The "Los Angeles" region is one of the most populous regions in the nation and center for both ethnic and economic diversity.  At some points only a few miles separates multi-million dollar mansions from boarded up slum flats where up to 5 immigrant families reside.  Los Angeles is a city of recent settlement and true population growth did not start until well into the 1880s.  Besides the main "city" of Los Angeles, numerous other cities and unincorporated communities make up the Los Angeles region with a staggering population of over 10 million.

Communication service in Los Angeles actually started in 1860 when the first telegraph line was opened between LA and San Francisco.  In 1880 the telephone was introduced into LA by the Los Angeles Telephone Company which was granted a 10 year franchise from Bell, for use of the "Bell" Telephone.  When they started they had 7 subscribers.  By 1890 the regions of Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino were connected into the LA system and by 1900 LA was connected to the rest of the state through "long distance" telephone lines.  In 1903 the Home Telephone Company started competing service in the LA region using an "independent" patent and within a year had over 10,000 customers.  The Home Company also was first to install an automatic system where customers could dial direct another party without operator assistance as you had to with the "Bell" Company.

As telephone use grew substantial problems developed with both competing systems operating together.  Sometimes it wasn't possible to ring your neighbor if he was on the other system because the two companies were not connected.  By 1910 the Home Company was operating 13 offices and was the largest independent in the world.  With continued problems between the two the city asked that both be combined into one automatic system.  In 1916 both companies combined to form the Southern California Telephone Company which became Pacific Telephone and Telegraph in 1947 and Pacific Bell in 1984.  The company grew to be one of the largest concentrations of telephones and related equipment in the world.  Over 100 central offices serve the region which has so many telecommunications circuits that the region requires 9 area codes, more then some states.  The hub of this mega network is the: Los Angeles Madison Complex

Smaller cites and areas that weren't able to receive service from the big, competing telephone companies provided their own local independent service.  Santa Monica, Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach installed local networks during the 1910s.  In 1929, the Associated Telephone Company was formed to take over all of the "Independents" and provide a common standard of service.  Operations were taken over in the above cities and Long Beach.  In 1935, Associated Telephone was taken over by General Telephone which became GTE in 1971.  Verizon took over GTE in 1999 and continues to provide service to the LA region.


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