Telephone was invented by Graham Bell with a word "Watson, Please come here!" Children often imitate it with two tin cans and a string attached to them. This is a point-to-point connection. When a person wants to speak, he puts his can to his mouth, and the other person puts his to his ear. This is a simplex mode. Present day's telephone enables both parties speaking at the same time which is a duplex mode. When a person wants to speak with a third person, the string (or line or circuit) has to be switched to the third person to have a point to-point connection with him. During this pint-to-point connection, the circuit is exclusively occupied by the two persons' conversation. No one should come in or hear (eavesdrop) the conversations, lest the privacy of telecommunications should be infringed. This is the basic tenet of conventional telephone industry. This is also because inherent interference of conversations by analog telephone technology need to be minimized. Advent of packet-switching, digitization of analog (or audio/voice) current, and data compression technologies completely changed this picture for telephone industry.
I learned that almost 75% of our telephone conversation is empty, if the conversation is effectively compressed, though such empty gap between words is necessary for clear understanding of our conversation. It is said that telephone companies nowadays effectively compress our telephone conversations and mingle with other parties' conversations during their transmission through high-speed trunk lines, thus cost effective use of valuable and expensive trunk line -- and possible cost reduction to users by the "shared" use of the line.
Therefore, it would be a false perception if we consider that the entire circuit between point-to-point is always exclusively reserved for the use of the parties at the both ends. This notion and the similar use of Internet telephony technology will lead to the complete revamping of telephone charge from per minute usage to per kilo-byte usage, which can bring a drastic cost reduction in the near future. This will revolutionize telecommunication industry, as I did with the de-regulation of the Japanese telecommunication policies for the use of e-mail. This is why of my motivation to promote Internet telephony.
"Sharing" concept will also be extended to the sharing of information and knowledge with our Global University System project -- Japanese words say that "Ultimate pleasure is to share your happiness and acquiring knowledge is a joy."
Not only Japanese Ministry of Post and Telecommunications but also telecommunication industries could not switch their "mind" easily from analog to digital and from circuit-switching to packet-switching -- even International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a technical agency of the United Nations, did not include Internet until recently <Giussani, Bruno, "Telecommunications and Internet Fail to Connect at Conference," The New York Times, September 16, 1997>.
This regulation was also due to the Japanese government's intention that such message exchange should be done by the government controlled monopolistic telecommunication industries, since e-mail could threaten their businesses, particularly of KDD, which had almost 60% of revenues out of telex.
Most of the telex users in Japan were large trading firms which had many leased telex lines to overseas countries around the world, as paying tens millions of dollars to KDD. I was very glad when I read an article in a Japanese newspaper a few years ago that those trading firms finally terminated telex completely, since their communications were advanced with fax and e-mail at much less costs than telex.