Public telephones may soon be obsolete

By Abby E. Schachter

The CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) has rejected Bell’s decision to increase the cost of pay-phone usage. The telephone company had wanted to install a 50-cent hike on both cash and credit payments. This would mean that Montrealers would be paying one dollar per cash call and two dollars via plastic currency.

In 2007 the CRTC had allowed an increase of 25 cents resulting in 50 cents a call.

The main reason Bell wants to increase payphone rates is because public telephones are seen as outdated, soon to be obsolete perhaps because of cellular phones.

Apparently the maintenance required to keep these ‘unused’ public telephones intact is not worth the
money. Bell allegedly wanted to quicken the deletion process by upping prices so that less and less people would want to use a payphone. This would allow the company to remove the devices from city spaces.

However, the CRTC came to the people’s defense stating that not everyone owns a personal cell phone and the 50 cent increase will do nothing but profit the phone company. In other words Bell was trying to make extra cash off the public.

The CRTC refuted the company’s argument about phone booth removals too, adding that Bell has been steadily eliminating payphones since 2007 and maintenance is not necessary. Also the initial 25 cent increase was meant to dissuade pay phone usage in 2007 and onward.

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