TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Foreign Exchange (FX) Lines Still in Use?

Re: Foreign Exchange (FX) Lines Still in Use?

Tony P. (
Wed, 18 May 2005 18:13:29 -0400

In article <>, bonomi@host122.r- says:

> In article <>,
> <> wrote:

>> In another thread Pat mentioned FX lines. As mentioned, these were
>> used to save on long distance changes -- customers would make a local
>> call to a distant business and the business could call its customers
>> for the cost of a local call. This service was not cheap.

>> At a resort I visited that had FX lines to a city 75 miles away, the
>> switchboard had special heavy cord pairs. Extensions authorized for
>> FX had a second jack underneath in which the heavy cord was inserted.
>> I heard FX lines used higher voltage thus the heavy cords. I don't
>> know what kind of special wiring, if any, was in the telephone sets.

>> I would guess WATS and long distance packages has made most FX lines
>> obsolete.

> The proverbial "yes and no".

> I seriously looked at FX for my residence a couple of times within the
> last 10 years or so.

nWhen I was living in the Marieville section of North Providence, RI I
got tagged with a Pawtucket (722 to 729) rate center phone number
while just a block away, there were Providence (353 and 354) rate
center numbers.

The install of the FX was about $85 and the monthly service < $40 but
it was worth it as I had many friends in the Warwick/EG area and my
tolls were getting insane.

When I moved two block over I had a Providence rate center number
again. So as a "screw you" to then New England Telephone, I had call
forwarding set up on the line.

You see, folks in the Pawtucket rate center could call my Providence
rate center number.

I could call the Warwick and EG rate centers without toll. You see
where I'm going here.

Friend of mine had a major BBS set up in East Greenwich but northern
RI users paid tolls to access. What we found out about call forwarding
was that the call forwarded and then released the line for other
calls. In addition, it would forward even while I was using it.

He split the cost of the line with me for that little service.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: A memory on this topic ... in the
Chicago area, Harlem Avenue and Irving Park Road is the dividing line
between part of Chicago proper and various western suburbs. When area
312 was split many years ago with part of it going into a new code
708, there were many customers along Harlem Avenue (on the west side
of the street; the suburban side) who had inadvertently earlier gotten
assigned a 'Chicago' prefix instead of a 'suburban' prefix. (All the
prefixes around that area work out of the Chicago-Newcastle central
office regardless of geographic location; once '708' as an area code
got started, telco just did programming in the central office.) But
the end result was the a few people on the Chicago (eastern) side of
Harlem wound up with a 708 number and some on the suburban (western)
side of Harlem wound up with a 312 number. It has been several years
now, of course, but I seem to remember a restaurant on the Chicago
side with its natural 312 business number, but the parking lot in
front of it had one payphone with a 708 number. At that time (of the
708 split from 312) a lot of business people around Harlem/Irving were
very unhappy about split; even more so when it was discovered a bit
later that 'here and there' their neighbor across the street had an
incorrectly assigned phone number from long before in the past. PAT]

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