Hush-a-phone-decision Definition


In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision (1955) that supported AT&T's contention that, under the Communications Act of 1934, even acoustically coupled foreign (non-telco provided) devices cannot be connected to the network without special arrangement.The Hush-a-Phone Corporation marketed a cup-like mouthpiece that mounted on the telephone transmitter.The Hush-a-Phone acted like a megaphone, allowing the speaking party to speak more softly and, thereby reduce the likelihood of being overheard by other parties, while reducing the impact of ambient noise, The Hush-a-Phone came in two models -- one for pedestal phones and another for hand-set phones.The decision stated that the device was "deleterious to the telephone system and injures the service rendered by it." The decision was later overturned on appeal. Note: In this era, all telephone equipment was owned by the monopoly telephone company and rented to the consumer.The definition of equipment included not only telephones and telephone systems, but also answering machines, cords, acoustic couplers, and even snap-on mouthpieces like the Hush-a-Phone, which had been sold since 1921. See also Carterfone Decision, Communications Act of 1934, FCC, and monopoly.

Webster's New World Telecom

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