Chapter 27. Asterisk: A Future for Telephony

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

Winston Churchill

We have arrived at the final chapter of this book. We’ve covered a lot, but we hope that we have made it clear that this book has merely scratched the surface of this phenomenon called Asterisk. To wrap things up, we want to spend some time exploring what we might see from Asterisk and open source telephony in the near future.

When we wrote the first edition of Asterisk: The Future of Telephony, we confidently asserted that open source communications engines such as Asterisk would cause a shift in thinking that would transform the telecommunications industry. In many ways, our belief has been proven correct. While the telecom industry still has much evolving to do, Asterisk has played a key role in fomenting a shift in thinking that has affected the entire industry.

The Problems with Traditional Telephony

Although Alexander Graham Bell is most famously remembered as the father of the telephone,[179] the reality is that during the latter half of the 1800s, dozens of minds were working toward the goal of carrying voice over telegraph lines. These people were mostly business-minded folks, looking to create a product through which they might make their fortunes.

We have come to think of traditional telephone companies as monopolies, but this was not true in their early days. The early history of telephone service took ...

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