Monday, June 6, 2016

FAR Proposal to Eliminate Telegrams as Preferred Method of Communication

Have you ever wondered why the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) includes references to telegrams? Probably not. But there are dozens of them. Have you ever tried sending a telegram lately? When was the last time you received a telegram? Ever? Its been more than 10 years since Western Union ceased its telegram service yet the references to telegrams lives on in the Government's acquisition regulations. But perhaps not for long.

The FAR Councils are proposing to remove the dozens of references to telegrams and telegraph services from the FAR text and replace the terms with "electronic communication". In its proposed changes, it acknowledges this antiquated form of communication.
The word "telegram" emerged shortly after the invention of the electrical telegraph in the 1840s. This terminology and way of communicating was incorporated into the first issue of the FAR ... The emergence of electronic means of communication, starting with the facsimile machine, and then followed by email and mobile-phone text messages ... resulted in the sparing use of telegraph services and use of telegrams.
"Sparing use"? That's quite the overstatement. It's been impossible to send or receive a telegram for 10 years now. And its been a lot longer than that since anyone seriously considered telegrams were an efficient or effective means of communication.

The last day that Western Union offered telegram services, there were 6 telegrams sent worldwide - all from people who wanted to be the last person ever to send a telegram.

You can read the full text of the proposed FAR revisions here.

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