Payphone Prices Going Up

Payphone Prices Going Up

Post by Linc Madis » Sun, 12 Oct 1997 04:00:00



I was at the grocery store on Tuesday, picking up a few items for a
friend who is sick in bed.  I ran into a few unanticipated options in
selecting the items he requested, so I figured the easiest thing to do
was to call and inquire whether he wanted his applesauce with or
without sugar, cinnamon, and/or cranberries.  I had already put some
of the items in the basket, so I didn't want to leave the store
entirely, lest my stuff be put back on the shelves before I returned.
Not to worry -- there is a payphone right at the entrance to the
store.

"Effective 10/7/97, local calls 35 cents" was plastered on the phone
near the coin slot.  Sure enough, I had to pay $0.35 for this call.

California law is explicit and clear: local payphone calls are to be
no more than $0.20 for the first 15 minutes.  However, the federal law
now pre-empts local authority, even though that pre-emption is
blatantly unconstitutional: a local call is clearly INTRAstate
commerce, and thus not subject to federal regulation.  Congress and
the FCC have unquestionably overstepped their legal authority.

And today we see the FCC continuing with its ridiculous rules on
reimbur*t to payphone owners for calls to toll-free numbers.
First of all, the per-call charge is ridiculously high, even at $0.28,
and secondly, it shouldn't be a flat fee per call.  I think that a
rate of $0.05 for the first minute and $0.01 per additional minute
would be entirely reasonable and proper, although I still don't grant
the point that it's reasonable or proper to reimburse payphone owners
ANYTHING for this service.  Every single payphone owner entered the
business knowing full well that they would have some non-revenue
calls, so their crying and wailing influences me not the least.  Why
should *I* pay more to give these companies something with NOTHING
given in return?

Payphone deregulation has been an unmitigated failure, far beyond any
problems with deregulation of other aspects of the telephone system.
What benefits has the CONSUMER seen from payphone deregulation??

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[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: The only benefit perhaps to the consumer
is that some COCOT operators do try to actually be competitive in
environments where other phones are located. As I mentioned a couple
days ago, the COCOTS I had installed at the place of business only
charge 25 cents and I intend to keep them that way as long as possible.
When you see a privately operated pay phone why don't you courteously
suggest to the owner that if he were to set local call prices so low
it was 'almost a giveaway' it would serve to promote a lot of goodwill
for his establishment. It could even be tied into a promotion for the
store with a sign saying, 'not sure what to buy or how much to get?
Call back home to find out; this phone set at a low cost as a courtesy
to assist our customers.'    ... or words to that effect. The phones
I had installed for the guy here in Skokie have already generated much
good will for him; i.e. people arriving on the bus late at night who
need a taxicab for example need only deposit 25 cents and press *2 to
get one. The speed dial on the phone then does this routine:

      6731000,,,1,1,1,cocot-number,1,1,1,2 and the taxicab
      interactive voice response unit says, 'thank you, your
      cab will arrive in approximatly 5-10 minutes. You may
      hang up now.'

What that does is dials the taxicab number; pauses for 3x2 seconds to
wait for an answer; yes I have a touch tone phone (do not need to wait
for a live operator); yes I want to order a cab (as opposed to package
delivery service or rechecking status on a pending order); it will
come to a residence or place of business (as opposed to airport or
hotel); the number of the phone placing the call is checked in the
database to find the address where to send the cab; number of persons
traveling (I just had them default this to one, it does not really
matter if two or three people also ride); going to same community (a
choice could have been [2] going to nearby community, but again it
does not matter); 'driver might not allow smoking [1] okay [2] must
be non-smoking [3] must allow smoking'; no I do not need to have
this order repeated back to me for verification (a choice could have
been [1] repeat this to me to be sure it is correct). Each comma
puts in a two-second pause.

I have *3 speed dial the toll free number for Greyhound information
and *4 dial the number for local transit information. *5 calls a time
and weather message. *2 *4 *5 cost 25 cents each. A sign on the
phone indicates these options. I think there does exist the possi-
bility that some payphone owners will use them as ways to build and
maintain goodwill with customers. You might suggest it to merchants
you trade with.  PAT]

 
 
 

Payphone Prices Going Up

Post by Stanley Cli » Tue, 14 Oct 1997 04:00:00


On Sat, 11 Oct 1997 01:47:45 -0700, in comp.dcom.telecom Linc Madison

Quote:> "Effective 10/7/97, local calls 35 cents" was plastered on the phone
> near the coin slot.  Sure enough, I had to pay $0.35 for this call.

*Already*?!  Was this a LEC payphone, or a COCOT?

Around here (Atlanta), I checked about five payphones over the past
two days, and all were still charging 25c/call.  Granted, Atlanta's
local calling areas, rates, etc., are somewhat different than
California's, but still ...

Quote:> California law is explicit and clear: local payphone calls are to be
> no more than $0.20 for the first 15 minutes.  However, the federal law
> now pre-empts local authority, even though that pre-emption is
> blatantly unconstitutional: a local call is clearly INTRAstate

There are isolated cases where a local call can be intERstate
(Chattanooga, Memphis, etc.), but traditionally these have been
handled by agreements between the PSCs/PUCs of the states in question
(TN/GA for Chattanooga, etc.)

I still agree that local payphone rates are a local matter, just like
local residence/business line rates are, and deserve handling by the
STATES, withOUT FCC interference.

One concern I have (and one the COCOT authorities at the GA PSC also
share) is that it will be much harder to police the uniform
application of local call rates at COCOTs, such as the ones that treat
numbers in NPA 706 local to Atlanta as "toll".  Now, a COCOT owner
could, say, charge 25c for calls inside 404/770, and charge 35c/min to
Jasper 706-692, and *supposedly* the PSC could do nothing about it --
even though Jasper is as local as Marietta or Newnan, according to the
GPSC's edicts.  (Argument: "Market rate" ... "If Jasper can pull in
35c/min, let's charge it.")  This seems like it may lead to rate abuse
in California, Chicago, and other "zone rate" states/areas, or local
calling areas that straddle NPAs, such as Atlanta and Chattanooga
(where I've seen the same damn thing, with certain local NXXs being
charged as toll.)

Hopefully the FCC will understand that in flat-rate calling areas,
such as Atlanta, all *local* calls must be charged the same,
regardless of distance, and will allow the GPSC and other regulators
to fine/turn off COCOTs that "overcharge" on specific local calls,
such as the 706-local areas.  For zone/band rates, the application of
rates must still be uniform -- calls to point A in band C should be
charged the same as calls to point B in band C, even if they are in
different NPAs, etc.

Quote:> And today we see the FCC continuing with its ridiculous rules on
> reimbur*t to payphone owners for calls to toll-free numbers.

COCOT owners do not deserve windfalls, particularly when they have
been at best ignorant and at worst scummy scam artists, over the
years.

Quote:> First of all, the per-call charge is ridiculously high, even at $0.28,

Even 28c/call won't guarantee that COCOTs will allow 888/877/etc...
(some in Atlanta STILL DO NOT ALLOW 888 AS FREE, AND CHARGE AS MUCH AS
$3/CALL, IN CLEAR *DEFIANCE* OF GPSC AND FCC ORDERS!)

Quote:> and secondly, it shouldn't be a flat fee per call.  I think that a
> rate of $0.05 for the first minute and $0.01 per additional minute

At the very least, there should be reduced rates for paging carriers.
Requiring calls to pager numbers to carry the same charges as to other
numbers is messy and could result in substantial increases in pager
charges, or paging carriers blocking 800 access from payphones.  One
solution suggested has been to implement a "caller-pays-from-payphone"
8xx NPA; that defeats the purpose of 8xx NPAs, to allow calls withOUT
coins or additional payment to the caller.

Quote:> Payphone deregulation has been an unmitigated failure, far beyond any
> problems with deregulation of other aspects of the telephone system.
> What benefits has the CONSUMER seen from payphone deregulation??

Absolutely NONE.  The COCOT, and associated inmate-calling and AOS,
industries are among the sleaziest, worst-telecom-educated parts of
the telecom industry.  Payphone "deregulation", IMO, amounts to a
license to abuse the public, even more so than it already has.  It
cannot be allowed to happen.

Stanley Cline                         somewhere near Atlanta, GA, USA
roamer1(at)pobox.com               http://www.veryComputer.com/
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Payphone Prices Going Up

Post by Bruce Wils » Tue, 14 Oct 1997 04:00:00



Quote:best.NOSPAM (Linc Madison) writes:
> California law is explicit and clear: local payphone calls are to be
> no more than $0.20 for the first 15 minutes.  However, the federal law
> now pre-empts local authority, even though that pre-emption is
> blatantly unconstitutional: a local call is clearly INTRAstate
> commerce, and thus not subject to federal regulation.  Congress and
> the FCC have unquestionably overstepped their legal authority.

For many years the toll separations process (revenue sharing) between the
LECs and AT&T recognized that local exchange plant was both that and an
integral part of the long-distance network; and the Federal government's
long taken the position that anything which affects or is affected by
interstate commerce is fully within its jurisdiction.  (FWIW, I agree with
you that the Feds should keep their noses out of any aspect of setting
local rates, including the cost of making local calls from pay phones.)

Bruce Wilson

 
 
 

1. Stop posting 1 line follow-ups, John Navas, was Re: Low priced 28.8 mo


Newsgroups: comp.dcom.modems
Organization: Public Access Internet & UNIX
Original Date: 24 Apr 1995 04:04:13 -0400


One of the purposes of a post like the one from John Navas is to
publicly embarrass someone who has used a newsgroup inappropriately, in
this case by posting an advertisement.  Commercial operations are
particularly sensitive to negative publicity in a forum being read by
potential customers, so posts like that are more effective than they
might be against your typical freelance nuisance poster.  I generally
try e-mail first, but that doesn't always work.
--
John Brock

* Origin: RS-Net BBS * Trazendo o futuro ao Sul do pais * (12:12/0.1)

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