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New pay phones hit the street

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1 Author(s)
G. Zorpette ; IEEE Spectrum, New York, NY, USA

The sweeping change in public telephony that is resulting from a 1984 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision to open the US pay telephone market to competition is examined. Consumers are already confronted with a variety of telephone sets, services, operators, and, perhaps most important, rates. Soon equipment made by many different manufacturers will let users send voice, data, and facsimile messages through public terminals. the differences between private pay phones (PPPs) and the local-exchange carriers' phones are discussed. Unlike the traditional phones, which rely on facilities of the telephone company for many functions, including rate computation, credit card verification, connection of collect calls, generation of operator messages, prompts, and tones, PPPs must perform all of these functions-and more-by themselves, typically through the use of dedicated 8-bit microprocessors and custom software. Competition in the industry and the question of how best to regulate the PPP industry, particularly as regards rate, are considered. The potential impact of ISDN is briefly examined.<>

Published in:

IEEE Spectrum  (Volume:27 ,  Issue: 5 )