Answer: cattle fences
More than a century ago, in the early days of the roll-out of the telecommunications network, there was a lot of space that was not covered by the telephone network. Thousands and thousands of acres of the rural southwestern and western United States were far beyond the reach of the telephone network, and early telephone companies were in no hurry to incur the cost of building miles of lines between each farm and ranch west of the Rio Grande.
While rural farmers had no access to a telco-laid wire network, they certainly had more than enough wire to go around. All those thousands of hectares of agricultural land were fenced off. At some point in the late 1
Over the years, ranchers improved the lines by adding extra wire, using old bottlenecks to insulate the wire and improve the signal, and even installing switchboards manned by the women of the farmers. As far back as the 1970s, there were still many areas in rural Texas, Arizona and New Mexico where the only way to get a call to a remote farm was to use the fence network.