Modern technology makes it very easy for the general public to obtain a local phone service through cable service providers. Most providers offer deals alongside their telephone services, including internet and television. Digital phone service for instance can actually be quite cheap, and often times allows special services such as long distance calling for free, or for a reduced price.
A local phone service was typically provided by smaller companies that were based in cities and towns as opposed to national or international companies. Long distance networks were used to patch these calls outside of their local areas provided for by the companies. Most of the networks were owned in monopoly until de-regulation, when the corporate structures of these companies changed. Many rural communities in the United States had local telephone companies until party lines were created. Local telephone wires terminate at the central telephone exchange office, which is a structure that contains all of the necessary hardware required to switch calls among local lines and long distance networks. When somebody would place a call outside of the appropriate local calling area, the central office would need to switch the call to the respective long distance network.
Technology advanced how ever, and these central offices began to offer more convenient services made possible by the increase in their technical abilities. Some of these services included call returning, caller ID, three-way calling and even voice-mail. Local phone companies aim to serve their respective communities and ensure their connection with the large long distance carriers. Before cell phones came along, phone calls were made by land-lines, and the local companies would be involved in this form of communication, to a certain degree. Newer technology such as cell phones and digital phone services give these local companies newer roles in the greater picture of telecommunications.