BBS software for the PDP 11

Warner Losh imp at
Sat May 20 13:12:03 CDT 2017

On Sat, May 20, 2017 at 7:42 AM, Liam Proven via cctalk <
cctalk at> wrote:

> On 19 May 2017 at 21:39, jim stephens via cctalk <cctalk at>
> wrote:
> > I have news for you. (maybe) From 1976 until it petered out, the phone
> time
> > cost a lot too.  $200 or more a month at times.
> What does "phone time" mean in this context?
> I mean, POTS billing, for me, was always time-based, but the amount
> billed per unit time varied according to distance.
> AIUI, the UK system -- local calls cheapish, long-distance calls
> within the country more but not vast, international calls VERY
> expensive -- contrasted with the US system: local calls free,
> unlimited time, but long-distance calls within the country very
> expensive. Thus the development of various early
> telephony-over-the-Internet systems. I never used these at all until I
> had an international long-distance relationship. No real point inside
> the British Isles.

Until the late 1990's or early 2000's, you paid per minute on long
distance, but typically not for local calls. Now it's all flat rate, or
almost flat rate no matter how much you use.

> Also a stupid charge for local calls where the PUC's didn't stand up to
> the
> "PUC"?

Public Utilities Commission. That's the folks that in most states set the
tariffs under which phone companies operated. The tariffs set the rates for
long distance, what constitutes long distance, etc.

> > Bell system or successors and call bullshit to the charges. Calling
> across a
> > few blocks could cost a lot and you wouldn't know it unless you were a
> phone
> > nut due to zone usage metering.
> I don't know what "zone usage metering" is either.

In the bay area in california, and likely elsewhere too, there was a local
calling zone that was set based on the population patterns of the 1950's
and 1960's. This meant that calls to some numbers were free, while others
had a toll associated with them. There were zones around the central zone.
So it would cost money to call out of your zone, even if things were only a
few miles away. It was a total crock, but something that the PUCs allowed
because it has always been allowed before the suburbs grew up into one
contiguous population area. So fast forward to the 1980's or 1990's and you
found it impossible to know how much a call would cost. In Colorado, I
lived in an area just outside the metro calling area. I could call 20 miles
away to the far side of Longmont for free. But calling 2 miles to the pizza
joint was a long distance call because it was over the line in gunbarrel
which was in the metro calling area. Totally insane and bat **** crazy.

> > Only with competition in the mid 80s did US long distance start to fall,
> and
> > now with the internet and voice over IP have the need to pay for most
> such
> > long distance gone away for small users.
> Well, yes, for everyone.

For everyone in major cities where there's competition. The picture is
still F'd up in rural areas where there's only one phone company.

> Now, in Europe, the problem is international mobile phone roaming. The
> EU is slowly forcing this out, but in return, now, the cost of
> roaming to non-EU countries is extortionate.
> > I put in a couple of T1 based systems for large offices though as
> recently
> > as 7 years ago, and commercially the POTS or digital carrier phone
> numbers
> > carry a huge toll.
> Wow....

Yea. It was a regulated monopoly here, and all kinds of crazy pricing
things were in play to prop up a failing business model unable to compete
with new technology.... Of course, there's still forces here in the US that
are trying to leverage their failing telco business into a toll-gate on the
internet, so time will tell...


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