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Dialing one state closer to obsolete

Janet Babin Aug 29, 2007


Scott Jagow: The first radio station I worked for had one of those time and temperature phone lines people could call. My job was to update the weather in the middle of the night. It was the big-time, let me tell ya. That job probably doesn’t exist anymore. In fact, AT&T has stopped offering its time and temperature service in 48 states. Actually, make that 49. Marketplace’s Janet Babin reports from North Carolina Public Radio.

Janet Babin: There was a time when if you needed the time, you picked up the phone, even a rotary phone.

But sometimes you just needed to hear another person at the other end of the line and for years, AT&T has offered her up, just a local call away.

[ Good Morning. At the tone Pacific Daylight Time will be 5:10 exactly. (Beep) ]

Now the time, if not the tone, are just a glance away from most cell phones and laptops.

In a nod to the computer age and fading equipment, AT&T has told California customers in their phone bills that the time service will end next month.

Nevada will be the only state where you can make that call, but when the equipment dies, the company says it’ll end there too.

The LA Times reports that the end of time does come with an upside for Californians: About 300,000 new telephone numbers will open up in the state.

I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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