TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: NYC Phone Rates, was: Sid Ceasar and Phones in Comedy

Re: NYC Phone Rates, was: Sid Ceasar and Phones in Comedy
12 Sep 2005 10:12:52 -0700

NOTvalid@XmasNYC.Info wrote:

> Danny Burstein wrote:

>> In <> writes:
>> Bit by bit the 75 message unit allowace got cut down, so nowadays
>> there's nothing there there. On the slight plus side back in the
>> 1970s the "local area" for untimed calls expanded to the entire
>> city.

> Also cut out is the discount for LOCAL calls made in evening and night
> altho Verizon kept itemizing how many were made eve and night.

IIRC, more distant Message Unit calls in NYC were timed. Immediate
local calls were untimed, but more distant calls had a charge, such as
one unit for every two minutes and the even further calls one unit for
every minute. There was a complex chart in the phone book that
explained it all.

Philadelphia used and continues to use a similar system to this day.
It's called "measured service now" but the principles are the same--an
non-itemized aggregate of cost for intermediate local calls in the
"Metropolitan Calling Area". In contrast to the above, in more recent
years discounts are given for night/weekend calls, in the past there
were no discounts for offpeak calling. Also, in more recent years
boundaries were liberalized and basically the charges declined.

Based on the Bell System history, many big cities had measured
service. Adding meters to each line for panel switching did not seem
to be a big deal; indeed, I think it was part of the plan. I don't
think adding meters to SxS was that hard either as it was done in the
1940s for Los Angeles.

Note that cities had fairly large calling areas and the opportunity to
reach literally millions of people on a local call. In contrast,
small towns had a much smaller calling area before going toll and far
fewer people to reach. So you in a small town could call your next
door neigbhor for free, but your cousin in the next town was a toll

For example, the regional high school serving my area covers a fairly
large geographic area. End to end is a toll call, in the middle are
message unit calls, and local calls within narrow spots. You can see
the contrast in calling options and fees for a kid in a city high
school (measured, but cheap) and a suburban kid (either free or toll).

Remember too the Brady Bunch episode discussed here where too many
calls were being made and the parents clamped down on the kids.
Obviously they had measured service. (In a modern house with six kids
with three adults. Hmm, yeah right. Geez, even in those days
families like that were putting in second lines for the kids to use;
the phoneco even had combo packages.)

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