from The Essential Paradise, doc. 2.21.
Getting in touch
The service Edit
Telephone service in Paradise appears to work much the same as it does anywhere else; however there are several quirky idiosyncrasies.
Local numbers are all regularised as a two-digit exchange and three-digit local number; thus in theory the maximum would be 99,999 separate phone lines, or about 2-1/2 phones per resident. (This may be why Paradise Telecom are reluctant to facilitate mobile phones.) Detecting a valid two-digit exchange code, the service node then switches to expect a three-digit number.
Operator service is available by dialing ‘0’.
International calls must be placed and received through the operator. Staffed switching depots are located throughout the territory, typically near larger incidences of registered phones.
Emergency services are available on ‘999’.
There is no ‘caller-ID’ service as of 2001.
As of 2000 Paradise does not seem to have cellular mobile-phone service; thus bright-green public call-boxes are much more frequent here than in other outlying parts of the Commonwealth.
The instruments Edit
The typical telephone instrument’s ring is the once-familiar two-short/long-pause pattern of British Telecom.
At a public call-box, calls are initiated by depositing 20 p (or two old shillings). Emergency and operator services are available for free merely by dialing.
Most phones have rotary dials, which is sometimes disturbing to first-time visitors from Britain, America and other places. Digital dialing, when from rotary instruments, is accomplished by the local node's detecting the rotary signal (effectively counting the clicks) and effecting the connection of a digital signal. The process is slow and usually very reliable, though occasional errors (miscounts by the digital receiver) do happen, resulting in a wrong number. One benefit is that subscribers in older houses, may of whom, in Paradise, are staunchly conservative and resistant to technological change, may retain their old-fashioned instruments However ‘touch’ (digital push-button) services requiring input from other than the ten rotary numbers are unavailable.
The internet Edit
As Paradise Telecom begin to put in high-speed data lines for intranet and Internet service during the 1990s, voice-telephone service becomes less important. For example, by 2001 most businesses probably send a document via email rather than by fax.
Appearances in the stories Edit
Throughout the Janine of Paradise arc, Janine takes advantage of the lack of ‘caller-ID’ service, able to phone home from Charlie’s room representing herself as being somewhere else (usually at Sally’s); but this seems only a logical matter of course for her since, being Paradise-born and raised, she is probably unaware that ‘caller-ID’ exists elsewhere in the Commonwealth. Even if it were possible for her family to ring the operator or service and enquire as to the last number to ring them, they have no reason to disbelieve her from the start and do not believe they need to seek the information.
Janine informs Charlie of her private (bedroom) number in Janine's First Date; as this exchange takes place in a busy school corridor, and neither of them can get hands on a pen, he promises to just remember it, which he does.
Her cousin Lottie in Cook Landing seems overly fond of prattling over the phone; in First Date she nearly runs too long, risking Janine's missing an expected call from Charlie. Probably there is no 'call waiting' feature as exists elsewhere.
According to Janine's Growing Pains, Janine's phone is a 1970s-era pink 'Princess'-model beside phone whose dial glows when the (electromechanical) bell rings.
In Stepped Out Of A Dream, Lord Jonathan informs Gwendolyn Dahl of his private (bedroom) number at Camelot over a table at Simple Simon's bistro in Surfside. As he is an extraordinarily-popular figure, both locally and globally, the information is regarded as priceless to Gwendolyn who never does compromise the secret.
Later Lord Jonathan reconnects the phone line for Gwendolyn's room; the text reveals that the wiring standard is only POTS. To ensure that her family do not cut off her service again, he bypasses the connection block with a hidden run of cable, to allow uninterrupted service even if someone reopens the connection in the box.
Though she, like her brother, has her own private line at the Camelot estate, Lady Kimberley is rumoured to nearly never use the phone at all; she tends to prefer handwritten notes to her friends and relatives, even those who live locally, and relies on messages from the household and security staff, who receive incoming calls at the main number, to organise her social arrangements.
Lady Susie uses the phone a few times in The Seduction of Susie but is seen to do so only infrequently thereafter.
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