Author Topic: Phone line Rates now vs then  (Read 963 times)

Offline rtp129495

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Phone line Rates now vs then
« on: November 17, 2015, 09:55:13 PM »
I was too young to pay bills in the 80s before deregulation of the phone company. But I was wondering in comparison to todays ridiculous phone bills of $200 for some people!!! Was the phone bills of MA bell considered outrageous for the wages earned for the time it/she was around?

I was just curious.....

Offline Phonesrfun

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Re: Phone line Rates now vs then
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2015, 01:04:51 AM »
Usually the basic bill, as I recall, was somewhere around $20 to $50 per month which included the phone instrument(s) and unlimited local calling which was usually defined as calls within town or in large cities, at least to others in the same general part of town.  "Long Distance" or toll calls were usually ridiculously expensive by today's standards, and were usually more expensive the longer the distance.  We were absolutely painfully aware of the cost and so long distance calls were kept as short as possible.  They usually charged a certain amount for the first three minutes, and then so much per minute after that.  The caller always paid for the long distance call, unless the call was placed as a collect call.

There were lots of variations to how you were charged for phone service, but the above was pretty typical.  We just did not do a lot of long distance calls.  Christmas, birthdays, mother's day, etc were popular days to make calls.  So popular that you might get a recording that said to try the call again because all circuits were busy.
-Bill G

Offline NorthernElectric

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Re: Phone line Rates now vs then
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2015, 06:51:06 AM »
I don't know if Bell Canada rates have been similar to rates in the US so this may or may not be relevant.  I don't remember exactly what my basic service cost in the 70s and 80s, but my impression is that the monthly base rate has probably increased less than the rate of inflation and relatively speaking, is more reasonable now than then.  The same is not true of long distance calling rates which have increased much more.  I have never had any 'plan' for LD but have recently tried one of those cheapo 3rd party calling cards and have also been more mindful of scheduling calls during off-peak discount periods.  Long distance rates are mitigated somewhat by the fact that local calling areas are larger than when I first got my phone line, and not confined to the exchanges serviced by my CO but include neighboring exchanges.

Offline jsowers

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Re: Phone line Rates now vs then
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2015, 11:41:49 AM »
I'm served by an independent telco and their prices were lower than Ma Bell in the 1980s and 90s. I found my installation bill from 1985 and it's $9.52 for one month of service with no phone rental and rotary-only service. Later on in 1998 it was $11.70. In 2005 it was $16.04. In 2015 it's $29.14. So in 30 years it's gone up $20 a month. None of those prices include internet access or phone rental.
In the 1980s and 90s we had two area codes in the county and calling just a few miles to the north was long distance and a different area code. So yes, it was like Bill said. We paid close attention to long distance calls and kept them short and only for important things and we called relatives on Sundays when the rates were cheaper. You tended to plan ahead more in those days. One uncle worked for Southern Bell and got free long distance, so they tended to be the ones who called everyone. About 2003 the area code split in the county was gone and by 2005 we had a wider calling area including all the major cities to the north and east and the price of service went up because of that.
Last month I changed my phone and internet service and got analog cable, wireless broadband internet and an analog phone line all in one package with free long distance from the local telco for $84.49/month for the first year with free installation. I called it the "grampaw package" and I'm in heaven. I have everything I want and nothing extra I don't like a cable box or IP phone service that doesn't work in a power outage. I got to keep my POTS line so all my rotary phones still work fine. The analog cable is up to channel 73 with an additional 16 local channels in HD.
And to top it all off, the cable picture quality (no pixelation) and selection of channels is better than Time-Warner, my former cable provider, which was charging me $75 a month just for analog cable, which they no longer offer. The phone company even buried a new cable line to the back of my house. In a year it goes up to $105/month, which is still a bargain by comparison. I should've done this years ago.


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Re: Phone line Rates now vs then
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2015, 02:31:07 PM »
I've always wondered why the cost goes up and up for landline phone service. I've heard from local Frontier guys that the whole system was paid for long, long ago. It's kind of like the cable company, too. My family uses Frontier with long distance, and all the bells and whistles. It's expensive, but it's a good service to have. I love it when the power goes out, and the neighbors are stuck looking for a signal. All I have to do is pull out one of my many, many landlines, and rock and roll.

The phone company can deceive though. We recently upgraded my grandmother to start getting caller I.D. It turned out that for many years, she had been getting charged for call forwarding. The cost got up to $5 extra a month. Negligence on both parts. It happens that way sometimes I guess.

I understand that it costs money to do business, but too many companies are getting their hands too deep in the cookie jar. Someone needs to start a new trend of lowering prices for the life of the service, not just 12 months!

It's ironic that you can get internet service for $15/month here in NC, and use Google Talk to make free calls to the whole U.S.!

« Last Edit: November 18, 2015, 02:38:57 PM by Partyline4 »