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Western Union Shuts Telegraph Business

IN BRIEF / TELECOM

February 02, 2006|From Bloomberg News

After 155 years in the telegraph business, Western Union has cabled its final dispatch.

The service that in the mid-1800s displaced pony-borne messengers has itself been supplanted over the last half-century by cheap long-distance telephone service, faxes and e-mail.

In a final bit of irony, Denver-based Western Union informed customers of its decision last week in a message on its website. The terse notice was in keeping with telegraphese, the language that customers devised to hold down costs.

Western Union, which primarily transmits money from about 270,000 locations in more than 200 countries and territories, ended the service a day after parent First Data Corp. said Jan. 26 that it would spin off the company.

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