When I got my basic service installed here in Palo Alto, CA, the guy on the
other end asked if I wanted the touch-tone "option". I asked him what the
additional cost was, and took it. Then I gave him the old "Did you know..."
about how when the phone-using public was paying for the research that led to
touch-tone, it was told (correctly) that touch-tone would bring down the cost
of running the phone system and (incorrectly) that the savings would trickle
down to the consumers.
He was surprisingly knowledgeable for a sales rep, and we had a nice
conversation about the current state of digital systems implementation and
arbitrary restrictions on ISDN services. He also said that "PacBell is
lobbying (some regulating body (the PUC?)) to kill the extra charge for
PacBell is a business. It wouldn't try to kill the touch-tone charge unless
(a) they believe that the cost of supporting pulse dialing will soon exceed the
revenue of touch-tone charges, or (b) they have been overcome by an irrational
urge to charge for a service proportionally to its cost. If PacBell is
anything like other BOCs I've done business with, I find (b) to be exceedingly
unlikely. Anyone have any evidence suggesting (a)? Any other reasons PacBell
would be lobbying for such a move? Any evidence that the sales rep was
mistaken (i.e. that PacBell is making no such lobbying effort)?
I have always felt that tone "service" charges were one of the most irrational
BOC charges. There is no extra cost to the BOC, and in some cases it results
in *lower* operating costs. I am very interested to learn if there is any
truth to the rumor that the charge may be removed.
Be seeing you...
"...and every morning we had to go and* the road clean with our TONGUES!"