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Old 2012-04-24, 04:43 PM   #1
PRIUS
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Default Bell's $2.80 Touch-tone fee

Will someone, please, confirm if Bell's $2.80 Touch-tone fee is mandated by the CRTC, or if this fee is a voluntary fee that Bell tacks onto customer's bill.

Thank you.
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Old 2012-04-24, 04:54 PM   #2
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its a BS fee really...because you are not allowed to opt out of it. It's in the same league as the digital access fees that Rogers tack on to digital customers.
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Old 2012-04-24, 06:15 PM   #3
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A long time ago, before competition with VOIP and Cable, the local service providers (eg. Bell) had a monopoly. The rates they could charge were highly regulated with the intent to keep basic phone service (your standard pulse dial, black 500 set) at a price that virtually everyone could afford.

The only way for telephone companies to make extra money (since rates were fixed) was to introduce new services. Touch-tone was the perfect answer. Lower cost for the Telco to provide (took less network resources), and provided the end-user added benefits (faster dialling). It was a win win - extra $ for Ma Bell, and a taste of the future for us consumers.

Eventually every new subscriber was required to take TouchTone - dial pulse was no longer an option. Everyone who had pulse dial was grandfathered (there may be some people today who don't pay extra for TT). For everyone else - any time a change was made, a move, or a new service, TT was mandatory.

The charge is just legacy but kinda funny. Just think of it as part of your basic service cost.
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Old 2012-04-25, 01:04 AM   #4
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For what its worth, I recently called Bell to comlain about the T.T. fee, and was given a $25 credit to cover it for the next 12 months. Of course, I'll call back in a year and get it "renewed" !!

Its only $25, but worth the call. Complain about everything else while you are on the phone, you'll probabbly score another discount or three.... :-)
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Old 2012-04-25, 10:33 AM   #5
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The irony is that, after a few years, it ended up costing Bell more money to keep supporting rotary phones. Many people, like myself, intentionally used rotary phones to avoid the extra fee. In order to cut costs and make switching equipment more efficient, Bell eventually stopped supporting rotary dial phones but didn't drop the touch tone fee. I even see it on my TSI bill.
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Old 2012-04-25, 10:45 AM   #6
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Rotary phones are still "supported".. You can always dial out using one - at least as far as I know.
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Old 2012-04-25, 10:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry
The rates they could charge were highly regulated with the intent to keep basic phone service at a price that virtually everyone could afford.
Actually,
"10. For ILECs in a monopoly environment, telephone rates were set at just and reasonable levels, which ensured that carriers earned a reasonable rate of return."
Source: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2011/2011-291.htm

Reading the whole introduction, Bell Canada had an obligation to provide phone service to rural and remote areas, where it costs more to provide service, but keep the same price for everyone, urban or rural.

One sad story, if I remember the information pamphlets that Bell was sending every year to announce prince increases, there were still customers in rural areas who had to share the line with their neighbor, using distinct ringing, and that was in 1999-2000 ! With dial-up internet becoming more popular and *star options being available, the CRTC ordered Bell to give those customers their own line, Bell complained about extraordinary costs, so everyone had a small price increase to finance this, but not high enough for Bell's taste, so that's around that time they closed down some offices here in Canada and opened offices in India. And then you wondered, if Bell charges you 43 cents per minute of long distance to call someone living 50 miles away in the same province as you, a long distance call to India might be way more expensive per minute ! How could they afford it?

Yup, back then, it was "a reasonable rate of return", but Bell didn't have bad financial numbers at all.
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Old 2012-04-25, 04:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cm3020prob View Post
Actually,
"10. For ILECs in a monopoly environment, telephone rates were set at just and reasonable levels, which ensured that carriers earned a reasonable rate of return."
Source: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2011/2011-291.htm
That's true - Bell was regulated to a rate of return but in addition, they were required by the CRTC not to raise POTS service cost as to ensure wide spread affordability. This cap on rate of return was actually a disincentive for Bell to reduce cost (since that would just raise their rate of return and would require them to lower rates to stay under the cap). That's why Bell was so bloated back then. Once the cap was removed, and Bell needed to compete, you saw lots of cuts.
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Old 2012-04-25, 06:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry
Once the cap was removed, and Bell needed to compete, you saw lots of cuts.
And the story goes on...

If I remember correctly, the cap was removed only in urban centers where you can pick another provider for local home phone (wholesale, before cable and VoIP), under the condition that the wholesale provider pays network fees, that was forwarded to you and you ended up consequently paying the same price, if not more. Rural and remote areas are still regulated.

Bell sent out an information sheet with the paper bill a month in advance before the CRTC decision, saying that the decision will allow canadians to save money, we have to support it, it's awesome (ok, I'm exagerating). As soon as it was approved, Bell did those tasks: base price increased, individual *star options increased, long distance plans introduced a new 5$ network fee too all existing customers, but if you were taking a package with options, you'll be saving on those fees... off course, increasing your bill. And more savings if you're bundling your Sympatico bill and/or ExpressVu and/or Bell Mobility bill to one.

If you only needed call display and to make between 0 and 30 minutes of long distances in a month, you ended paying the same amount as those with options but with zero usage, and a lot more than before the decision.


Thanks HTSD for the Marketplace video link. There's a link on the right side for a PDF about the Telecom Decision CRTC 2010-292. The CRTC's decision concerns only "Bell Canada's grandfathered rotary dial customers" : "a customer subscribing to residence individual line services installed before 8 March 1993, not equipped for Touch-Tone service".

So, the CRTC is OK with the current 2.80$ charge. Just not OK that Bell charged the fee since at least 28 September 2009 to people who kept pulse dialing since 1993 (and avoided the 2.80$ fee). Also, you must find out somehow about this decision and contact Bell yourself:

"17. The Commission directs Bell Canada to reimburse or credit any grandfathered customer who contacts the company, with applicable interest, for rates improperly charged..."
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Old 2012-04-26, 11:31 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry View Post
Rotary phones are still "supported".. You can always dial out using one - at least as far as I know.
They are in fact still supported. It's all I use at home. We have had the same number since before TT. Unless I change my service I still don't have to pay the fee. All new services automatically get the TT fee.
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Old 2012-04-26, 12:21 PM   #11
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Rotary dial definitely works with most POTS providers, and even with some cable telephone providers (e.g. Access Communications here in Regina). I have a couple of older rotary dial phones (a Northern Electric 500 and a Western Electric 302) because I like the ergonomics and the high audio quality... plus they're fun. The only downside is that I can't listen to my voicemail using them without running a touchtone generator on my computer
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Old 2012-08-02, 08:58 PM   #12
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I have the old pulse service but use a touch tone phone. You hit the *key if you require touch tone service after the initial call.
I keep a rotary phone in case of a power outage, although come to think of it there is not many to call.
Jim I might need your #.
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Old 2012-08-20, 10:45 AM   #13
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Do they still charge a no crank spin fee for the new phones ?
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Old 2012-08-28, 04:50 PM   #14
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If you look at the regulatory documents on Bell's website it is a distinct fee along with other fees and charges so it has to be more than cash grab. To me it appears to be remnants of older agreements/laws pr regulations. http://www.bce.ca/aboutbce/regulator...ce/bellcanada/

I think what people should be concerned about is yearly POTS price increases, the $2.80 is going to stay fixed for years to come, but what isn't is the monthly charge.
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Old 2012-08-28, 05:12 PM   #15
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^^^^
I seem to recall that whenever they tried to drop it, anti poverty groups would claim it would hurt low income people, ignoring the fact that you can't order a pulse dial line any more. Perhaps the solution would be to drop the charge and simply give a credit to those with a pulse dial line. Eventually, there will be none left. Or, failing that, drop that charge when there are no longer any pulse dial lines in service. At the time that charge was created (mid '60s), Bell was the only phone provider and had all charges listed in the tarriffs. Back then, touch tone was considered a premium service and warranted that charge.
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