TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: International Long Distance From Next Door

Re: International Long Distance From Next Door

John R. Levine (
4 Jan 2005 22:34:01 -0500

> Would anyone know past and current charging practices for North
> American international calls between two adjacent cities (ie US and
> Canada or US and Mexico)? Did they charge you the full expensive
> international rate for a 5 mile call or give a break?

It depends (TM).

Between the US and Canada, there are a few places with local calling
across the border. Lists of them have been posted from time to time,
but they all seem to be rather small towns. Niagara Falls NY to
Niagara Falls ON is toll, as is Detroit MI to Windsor ON. As far as I
can tell, the places that are toll have always been toll and the
places that are free have always been free. According to messages in
the digest a few years ago, in some cases the phone exchanges were
wired across the border with a small US town hung off a larger
Canadian switch or vice-versa, but it's all normalized now, meaning
that a free local call from Derby Line VT to Rock Island QC most
likely goes to a remote in Derby Line, then to the main switch in St
Johnsbury, perhaps to the main LATA tandem in Burlington, then to a a
tandem someplace like Sherbrooke QC, then to the remote in Rock
Island, and to the destination phone which might be six feet from the
caller. Fiber bandwidth has gotten so cheap that it's often not worth
the hassle of maintaing the shortcut routes that used to be common.

For a long time the phones in many border areas of Mexico were part of
the US phone system and had US area codes. I gather that in many
cases there was free local calling across the border. In the 1980s
that was all unwound and now I'm unaware of any local calling across
the border.

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