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IN RECENT years independent telephone companies have become acutely aware of steadily decreasing net profits on short-distance toll-call operation. The recording, for billing purposes, of certain information concerning the toll call has required the assistance of an operator. For this reason, manual toll switching has been retained in spite of the fact that mechanical systems for performing the actual switching functions have been available for many years. Fixed toll charges and rising labor costs have combined to make it extremely difficult for the operating companies to realize a profit on this phase of their business.