[TELECOM] Payphones

Resend, I forgot to include the [TELECOM] in the subject line when I sent this the first time, Sunday night (2/17/08)

From: "Anth> Not in Chicago!

_ALL_ the pay phones were pulled from CTA stations several months ago. > [wry grin] > They're disappearing from a _lot_ of other places as well. > E.g. libraries, and grocery stores.

I don't know who the vendor/owner of the payphones at CTA stations and public libraries were... even today, "government-based" locations don't have to contract with the ILEC for public payphones, and have frequently gone to private "COCOT" payphone JUNK...

but Chicago's ILEC is now sbc's at&t. It had been sbc, previously Ameritech, previously Illinois Bell.

Not too long ago, sbc's at&t announced that the ILEC side of at&t was completely exiting the payphone business!

This means that ILEC sbc/at&t payphones will disappear (where they might have still existed) from the states of legacy Pacific Telesis (Pac Bell in CA, Nevada Bell), Southwestern Bell (MO, KS, OK, TX, AR), Ameritech (IL, WI, IN, MI, OH), and SNET (CT).

Legacy BellSouth (NC, SC, GA, FL, KY, TN, AL, MS, LA) is also now a part of sbc's at&t since January 2007, but BellSouth had already exited the payphone business, announced in 2001, and finally completed by 2004 or 2005.

I don't know if any government agency or level of government (local, state, federal) is able to "force" an ILEC which has completely exited the payphone business to "restore" payphones in "emergency" or "public need" locations. Afterall, COCOT vendors still exist, so if a local or state government agency really feels that a payphone is absolutely necessary at a rest stop, transit station, public library, etc., there are still numerous private COCOT payphone vendors out there.

I don't like the present situation, but that's the way things are these days. Thankfully, I have two cellphones, and I try keep the battery charged up. COCOTs are usually NOT properly maintained, or they are deliberately (mis/dis)programmed to CHEAT the end-user, sometimes even the called/billed party if a "collect" call. And yes, Lisa, I agree with you that not everyone has a cellphone, people drop/break cellphones, lose/misplace them, batteries do "die", there are bad signal areas, "exact" location when calling '911' isn't really accurate despite the current/future tech standards to ATTEMPT a better determination of the calling party's exact location, etc. But we aren't the ones "in charge" of these decisions, unfortunately.

- a.b.

Reply to
Anthony Bellanga
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On Feb 18, 11:16 pm, "Anthony Bellanga"

Too bad, but not surprising.

FWIW, my public library got rid of its pay phone. At first, kids were asking to use the library phone, but eventually the kids got their own cell phones.

Undoubtedly the removal of pay phones has encoraged people who would be content with pay phones to get cellular phones. I suspect the carriers make more money off of cellular than from pay phones (they do from me, anyway).

As I understand it, pay phones are deregulated. Thus, I know of no way a govt could force a carrier to provide pay phone service. However, if the govt was willing to pay enough $$$, I'm sure something could be worked out.

In NYC, pay phones are profitable, not from the telephone itself, but from selling ad space on the kisok walls.

[I gotta grab a photo of that real phone booth before it disappears. Does this website have any way to post telecom pictures?] ***** Moderator's Note *****

If the image is of general interest, I might be persuaded to put it on the telecom-digest website.

You can also post in the appropriate alt.binaries.pictures.* group.

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Reply to

I asked a former COCOT vendor why he got out of the business. The simple answer was that it was no longer profitable. In the more affluent areas, six year olds have cell phones. In what we'll euphemistically call the less affluent ones, the cost of repairing the vandalism exceeded his take from the phones.

Reply to
Ron Kritzman

Or, one of the free photo posting sites, such as

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Reply to
Sam Spade

These two phone booths complete with working Fortress payphones in them are available for use at the Erie County Fairgrounds in the Buffalo suburb of Hamburg, NY.

The first one here, complete with Verizon logo, is at the north end of the grounds near the craft area and Fries Park:

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The second one is right outside the Firemen's Building:

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Plenty more payphones may be found along the fairgrounds, but those are the only two in booths I have found. Come to think of it, I have found very few booths in the whole Buffalo area.

Reply to
Curtis R Anderson

There seems to be plenty of COCOTs in poor neighborhoods. Perhaps they make their money from hefty charges on calling card or overseas calls or those who perhaps prefer the anonymity of a pay phone.

Obviously the quantity of pay phones out there has and will shrink quite a bit. Places that used to have batteries of them no longer do. We forget how convenient and ubitquitous they used to be; one at every entrance to a mall, in every restaurant*, in the lobby of every building, on street corners, in every gas station. Many of those places had multiple phones.

I suspect many pay phones remain in service out of inertia, that is, it's easier to leave them be than go rip them out and patch up the wall. Some property owners may not even realize they're paying the carrier to have a cell phone that's not being used, when it finally dawns on them they yank it out. (What is the monthly rent for low-use a pay phone?) (I know a public pool that has a pay phone, but all the kids have cell phones**; I'm curious how long it will remain.)

I do expect that where there are now multiple pay phones, some will go and only one will remain. I've seen this in some train stations.

The real question is, with the explosion of cell phones, including reasonably affordable disposable ones, how many pay phones will remain***. To this day, I do see people using them. As mentioned, cell phones are by no means 100% reliable.

[*McDonald's, by policy, did not want pay phones to discourage teens from hanging out. But diners and other restaurants always had pay phones, perhaps a booth in the parking lot and some by the restrooms. Some luncheonettes had a semi-public pay phone that doubled as the business phone.] [**When the kids aren't in the water, they're staring or texting on their phones, even among their friends. In any group of young teens, you'll see one talking on a cell.] [***Pay phones I've seen removed: 1) gas station 2) shopping center entrance 3) outside drugstore 4) outside bar. 5) public library 6) office building lobbies
Reply to

Wow, one's got a door on it. Around here all the doors of booth were removed a while ago. And both have the red telephone letters and red panel; that's gone around here too.

Reply to

snipped-for-privacy@bbs.cpcn.com wrote in news:9a688aeb-3356-4cda-9ae4-eb080053df09@


That's funny, around here McDonalds is one of the few places where I have noticed public phones, but they are always in the parking lot, away from the building.

Reply to

Some McD's do have pay phones today.

But I believe (from Halberstram's excellent book, "The Fifites") that Kroc, builder of the chain, do not want the pay phones (or jukeboxes or pinball machines) so his outlets would not become teen hangouts. His original McD's were more of stands, designed for customers to pick up their food and leave quickly. Remember, they didn't have dining rooms back then; they were added later. The garish red and white tile was part of that plan.

One of the bane of payphones was incoming calls. People would hang out near a payphone to wait for calls. Some places, like soda fountains, tolerated it. Sometimes the calls were for bookies. In more recent years, payphones were used by drug dealers. Sometimes, a move I resented, the phone company would not allow incoming calls to a payphone; I think that is still done in places.

Going astray a bit....

Note that Kroc did not start McDonald's. The chain was started by the McDonald brothers. Kroc was selling them milkshake machines and saw they had a strong business. Kroc bought them out and built the chain into the national empire.

Regardless of what one thinks of McDonald's or fast food, Kroc had a very successful business formula. One element was standardization, the other was rigid quality control. Many intellectuals criticized McD's since the food would taste the same coast to coast, but that's what Kroc wanted and knew what the modern motorist--who was in a hurry--would want as well. McD's also served the Baby Boom families well since fast food was easier to take restless kids than a sit down restaurant.

Before McD's motorists would take their chances on a roadside diner that would be unique, but might be good or might be terrible (and I assure you from personal experience, plenty were indeed "greasy spoons").

Another alternative was the "tea room", which was the model Howard Johnson's used.

Reply to

Could we have an example of a subject title wherein we place [telecom] and retain continuity of the thread?

It needs to be straight-forward for you and "us." ;-)

***** Moderator's Note *****

I hereby decree that all posts must have [Telecom] at the end of the subject line, and nowhere else. So let it be written; so let it be done.

Bill Horne Temporary Moderator

Reply to
Sam Spade

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