TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: On Having Telco as a Housemate (was Question Easement)

Re: On Having Telco as a Housemate (was Question Easement)

Tony P. (
Thu, 20 Oct 2005 17:32:08 -0400

In article <>,

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: As I suspected would happen, one of
> our readers did some homework and came up with this article which
> first appeared here in February, 1989 and was later repeated in
> November, 1991. PAT]

>> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Does anyone remember the story in the
>> Digest several years ago where an answering service switchboard had
>> been located for several years in a private home -- If I could find
>> the story somewhere I would re-run it here. PAT]

> Google is Your Friend:

> TELECOM Moderator Nov 12 1991, 8:30 am
> Newsgroups: comp.dcom.telecom
> From: (TELECOM Moderator)
> Date: 12 Nov 91 06:45:34 GMT
> Local: Tues, Nov 12 1991 2:45 am
> Subject: On Having Telco as a Housemate (was Question Easement)

> Here is the story I promised earlier which originally appeared in
> TELECOM Digest on Sunday, February 26, 1989 along with a few replies
> which appeared in the week following.


> ------------------

> Date: Sun, 26 Feb 89 1:04:38 CST
> From: TELECOM Moderator <>
> Subject: On Having Telco As a 'Housemate'

> I will sub-title this report 'The Case of the Box Which Won't Be
> Removed'. The location is Lockport, Illinois; a suburban community
> thirty miles or so southwest of Chicago. It is served by Illinois
> Bell; or should I say the lady I will tell you about serves IBT. One
> way or the other -- anyway --

> Wanting to get out of the city, the lady bought a house in Lockport.
> It is an older place, but very well maintained over the years. One
> room would make a great den, but there was one problem that had to be
> taken care of first. In one corner of the room sat a box, about five
> feet high and four feet square. There were about 500 wires running in
> and out of it, all eventually finding their way through a hole in the
> wall. On the outside of the house at that point, the wires ran a short
> distance, then went down into the ground in a metal conduit like
> thing.

> Curious about it, she asked the realtor what it might be for, and was
> told that a former occupant of the house had operated an answering
> service there. The room she was planning for her den had been the
> switchboard area for the answering service years before.

> The lady called up Illinois Bell to see about having it removed. IBT
> agreed to do so for the mere sum of $2,400. *And they agreed the box
> was dead*. The lady protested; saying that $2,400 seemed a lot of
> money to yank out the old box, especially since nothing was going in
> its place provided by the phone company.

> After asking around, she found an independent workman willing to
> remove the box for $300, and was about to tell him to go ahead with
> the work when two people from Bell stopped by to see her, to warn that
> if any lines were broken or damaged, she would have to pay $70 for the
> repair of each. She said she thought $70 was rather outrageous for the
> repair of useless, dead lines, but the guys from Bell said in fact the
> lines were alive. They did agree to reduce their price and remove the
> box for 'only $1800', and completely indemnify her against damages or
> disruption of service which might occur in the process.

> Her independent workman took another look and confirmed what Bell had
> said: The box was in fact alive, and nearly 500 working pairs were
> terminated inside. Together they went back to Bell, and got the price
> for removal of the box negotiated down to only $1200.

> The lady said she had no intention of paying *anything* to take it
> out. And really, can you blame her? Finally with no place else to
> turn, she went to see the house's former owner; the fellow who had run
> the answering service. He said he thought Illinois Bell had been
> granted an easement to have the box there.

> And now the matter becomes even more mysterious. The lady went to the
> village hall and spoke to Lockport officials herself; and yes, they
> said, Illinois Bell *does* have an easement to that room in your
> house. They were unable, however, to show her a signed document from
> the previous owner giving easement rights to Bell. Tbe former owner
> insists he never signed anything; he claims they put the box in when
> he started the answering service back in the middle 1950's; and he
> claims he can't remember ever giving Bell permanent squatting rights
> there.

> After continued negotiations, IBT still insists it needs $1200 to
> remove its equipment and give up its easement rights. In the meantime,
> the lady won't budge, and she is living there with a Pandora's Box
> filled with legal ramifications for a 'roomate'. The search goes on
> for an official record of the easement with someone's signature on it.
> I suspect if and when it is found it will be the signature of the
> former owner. The contractor hired by the woman has identified a dozen
> businesses and several dozen residences in the vicinity which show up
> on terminals in the box.

> I think eventually if an easement record cannot be located, IBT will
> have to bite the dust and relocate the whole thing at thier expense.
> The woman has said if the easement *is* found, and it contains the
> signature of the former owner, she will sue him if necessary to make
> him pay for the removal.

> In the meantime if something goes wrong and Bell has to visit the box?
> Well, let's hope the woman isn't asleep, in the bathroom or otherwise
> 'indisposed' when her 'roomates' visitors show up!

> Patrick Townson

> Subject: Re: Telco As a 'Housemate'
> Date: Mon, 27 Feb 89 12:40:48 -0500
> From: Joel B Levin <>

> If I were that lady, and IBT came to the door because they needed
> access to work on one of the lines that came to that box, I would give
> it to them -- as soon as they showed me the document granting telco
> the easement. Not before.

> Another tack--

> Is there some way a noisy electrical device (an old refrigerator or
> something) next to the box might cause noticeable noise on the lines?
> That also might provide some impetus for them to move the box (or
> really make it dead). After all, they can't tell her what she can or
> can't have in some corner of her den.

A nice spark gap transmitter would do wonders for the phone lines.

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