BBS software for the PDP 11

Chuck Guzis cclist at
Sat May 20 16:05:46 CDT 2017

On 05/20/2017 11:12 AM, Warner Losh via cctalk wrote:

> 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.

Yes--and in addition, if you were willing to pay a monthly subscription
fee, you could add a city in the calling area that exempted you from
metered service for that city.  I remember doing this for Menlo Park.

Not only that, but sometimes the tariffs were set up such that A's calls
to B were free, but B's calls to A were toll.  And things were even
weirder when the destination was a non-AT&T carrier.  GTE, for example,
serviced Boulder Creek and Los Gatos.

In the early days of BBS, one of the ways for a sysop to save money was
to specify that a line was "answer only"--you couldn't dial out from it.
 I know of at least one case where Pacific Bell insisted that a modem on
such a line constituted a "data line", for which there was a much higher
charge.   It was a wacky world.

Even by 1990s, a lot of the RBOCs hadn't completely shed their habits.
I learned from an installer that a service call to "check the line" was
free, but one to "check equalization" was a substantial charge, even
though the former usually included the latter.



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