TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: NYC Pay Phones

Re: NYC Pay Phones

Anthony Bellanga (
Thu, 14 Sep 2006 15:03:13 -0600

PAT - DO NOT display my email address anywhere in this post! Thanks.


Lisa Hancock <> wrote:

> Anthony Bellanga wrote:

>> If VZ payphones can still be used to place such calls, then
>> it is being handled by some kind of internal COCOT-like "smart"
>> chips, regardless of who the actual LD carrier happens to be.

> Your suggestion is entirely possible, but actually involves more
> expense and hardware than in the past. Pay phones have been able
> to handle long distance for many years. Automated 1+ calling (to
> count the coins) has been available for a long time. You act as
> if this 1+ coin calling is something "new".

Toll coin calls never had their coins counted in the central office.
The operator handled them for a long time, until AT&T and the locals
began to implement ACTS, Automated Coin Toll Service, for customer
dialed 1+ coin calls, within the operator service switch, i.e., the
TSPS (Traffic Service Position System), or TOPS (Traffic Operator
Position Service), or OSPS (Operator Service Position System).

AT&T seems to have been the ONLY inter-LATA coin toll carrier in the
US, with the few exceptions of "nearby" or "corridor" inter-LATA coin
toll calls, such as NYC with northeastern NJ, southwestern NJ with
southeastern PA, and some other short-haul inter-LATA arrangements
which had received special waivers from the DOJ and FCC, those
corridor type inter-LATA 1+ coin calls could probably also be handled
by the local telco or AT&T, depending on whether or not you dialed the
right 101XXXX prefix first.

But AT&T Long Distance discontinued ALL 1+ and 011+ coin toll service
back in 2002/03. They reconfigured the trunk groups from the local
central offices with their twenty or so regional OSPS switches that
handle Operator and Card services, so that traditional AT&T handled
1+ coin toll service was discontinued. The FCC apparantly approved
AT&T's withdrawal from this back in 2001. AT&T's withdrawal from
traditional 1+ coin also eliminated their traditional provision of
coin "person" service dialed as 0+, and 01+ for international coin
person calling.

Where traditional central office controlled coin phones are still in
use by the ILECs, local coin calls are still handled by the local
central office, and 1+ intra-LATA coin toll, as well as any possible
grandfathered corridor inter-LATA 1+ coin calls, are handled by the
ILEC's TOPS switches. Intra-LATA coin person calls would also still be
possible as 0+ via the ILEC's TOPS.

But private "COCOT" payphones with internal "smart" chips began to
appear during the 1980s and have taken over. Several of us (myself,
Joseph Singer, Danny Burstein) have already stated that even most of
the ILECs have been reconfiguring their payphones so that the central
office and the Operator TOPS no longer handle local or 1+ intra-LATA
coin calls, but rather new internal "smart chips" will handle this in
the same manner that a private "COCOT" payphone does.

If an ILEC wants to provide "universal" 1+ coin service, both local,
intra-LATA, inter-LATA, and even possibly international, at least for
inter-LATA, they have to do it via "smart chips". It really doesn't
matter who the LD carrier is, since all the LD carrier is doing is
handling a "standard 1+ call" on behalf of the ILEC's line. The
"smart chips" in the phone will quote/count/collect/etc. the coins,
regardless of who the LD carrier might happen to be.

That same ILEC might have "hybrid" phones, where intra-LATA 1+ coin
toll is still handled in the "traditional" sense, routing to their
TOPS for 1+ coin treatment; and basic local coin calls are handled
in the local central office.

OR the ILEC might have chosen to COMPLETELY "COCOT-ize" their
payphones for ALL coin calls, local, zoned, 1+ intra-LATA, 1+
inter-LATA, etc., maybe even 011+ international.

OR ... the ILEC could completely WITHDRAW from owning and providing
payphone service altogather, as many rural and small town local telcos
have been doing since the mid-1990s, and even BellSouth completely
withdrew from payphone service by 2003/04. BellSouth began to totally
"COCOT-ize" their payphones starting in the mid-1990s. When the ILEC
no longer provides payphone services, then ALL payphones are truly
COCOTs, in that ALL of them are PRIVATELY owned. But even when those
ILECs were providing payphones in the last several years, it was no
different in overall operation than the truly privately owned
payphones since all of them had internal "smart chips".

Like it or not, the private "COCOT" payphone has taken over, either as
a truly privately owned payphone, or else as an ILEC (telco) owned
payphone but with COCOT-like "smart chips" inside of the phone,
without ANY telephone network switching element having control over
the coi, quoting/counting/collecting/returning/etc. Whatsoever.

> I hope to go up again and I'll see if I can find out who the carrier
> is.

I doubt that you will be able to determine who the carrier is for 1+
coin. Since the phone isn't your own, you are free to use it at the
rates posted or quoted, if depositing coins, or else use your calling
card or other method of payment (collect, third party, etc), ideally
by dialing a toll-free 800/888/877/866 number to access the operator
or card provider of your choice. Don't ever dial 0- or 0+ from a
payphone and expect to get AT&T or the ILEC operator or service
anymore, even if the payphone is AT&T or ILEC branded, or displays such
as the '0' carrier on the instruction card. If making a calling card
type call from a payphone, use the toll-free 800 type number displayed
on your card.

And if you think that you might find who the inter-LATA 1+ carrier is
by dialing 1-700-555-4141, most payhones do NOT allow that to be
dialed. The internal "smart chips" don't have the 700 area code
programmed in as a valid area code.

Things have been changing since 1984 and even before then too. I'm not
happy with the direction of some things in telecom, especially with
payphones. But I almost exclusively use my cellphone, rarely even
using my residential landline phone anymore, even though I still
subscribe to a traditional residential landline phone.

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