The most visible part of the telephone system is the local network, connecting individual phones to the local switching office. Technological and industrial changes are reshaping the local phone network, as well as the rest of the telephone system. This chapter introduces you to the local phone system, sometimes called the access network, and shows how it serves home, business, and other users. It will explain the changes gradually spreading through the system, and the increasing role of fiber optics in delivering services to business and home customers.
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