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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, September 16, 1914, LAST EDITION, Image 7

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1914-09-16/ed-1/seq-7/

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THIS COUNTRY RANKS FOURTEENTH AMONG
NATIONS AS TO TELEPHONE RATES
BY N. D. COCHRAN
"There is a road to every man's house; there ought to be a telephone
inside."
This remark is credited to Theo. N. Vail, head of the American Tele
phone & Telegraph Co. Mr. Vail is also quoted as follows:
"Instantaneous and immediate transmission of electrical communica
tions is as yet a convenience and luxury, although under modern methods
of business and commerce it is an economical alternative to the cheaper
mail service in business operations. The use of the telegraph may be a popu
lar convenience, but it is not a necessity and is confined still to the compara
tively few," and for that reason should be at the cost of the few that find
benefit and profit in that use."
If we may judge by the experience of other countries, public 'owner
ship would take telephonic and telegraphic communication out of the list
of luxuries and make such communication as common as the use of the
mails.
In a speech in congress, Representative David J. Lewis of Maryland,
presented a table showing that while the United States, under government
ownership ranked practically first in the letter rate, it ranks fourteenth in
local telephone rates, under private ownership.
The countries and their local rate per call for telephone service rank
as follows: Norway (private), 4 mills; Sweden, 5 mills; Japan, 5' mills;
Norway, 6 mills; Russia, 7 mills; Hungary, 9 mills; Denmark (private), 10
mills; Austria, 11 mills; Italy, 13 mills; Germany, 15 mills; Netherlands, 15
mills; Belgium, 15 mills; Switzerland, 17 mills; United States (Bell Co.), 21
mills. '
Norway (private), Sweden, Japan, Norway (public), Russia and Hun
gary have service at less than a cent a call; Denmark (private) has service
at a cent; Austria, Italy, Germany, Netherlands and Belgium at a cent and
a half or less; Switzerland at IT mills, and the United States at over 2 cents.
Explaining those figures, Congressman Lewis says: "Thus the Bell
system gives us a rank of fourteenth among sixteen countries, although our
postal rates virtually rank us first. But our telephone rates are really much
more abnormal than they appear in the above table, which represents the
average receipts per call and not the tariffs. When they are considered,
especially for the greater cities, we find that In New York city the sub
scriber's rate for a service limited to about 15 calls a day is $228, or greater
in amount than the combined rate of London ($82.79), Paris ($77.20)),
Berlin ($42.20) and Stockholm ($24.44) for their unlimited service."
In the figures he presented to congress, Mr. Lewis Bhowed that "the
rule of the private financier in the United States means local rates about
three times those under the postal management of other countries.
These facts and figures are given to show the people of Chicago that
the talk of PENNY SERVICE WITH A PHONE IN EVERY HOME is not
idle chatter, but is based on the experience of other countries where pub
lic ownership has reduced the cost even below that.
CHICAGO HAS AN OPPORTUNITY NOW THAT NO OTHER CITY IN
THIS COUNTRY HAS. THE TELEPHONE SYSTEM OWNED BY THE
ILLINOIS TUNNEL CO. BY RIGHT NOW BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE OP
CHICAGO.
The representatives of the people in council are asked TO THROW

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