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PhourOhTwo

Semi-Postpay Coin Phone in the Wild

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Would anyone be surprised to find that there are still semi-postpay coin phones in use in the U.S.? I found one while driving home from viewing the eclipse on Monday. It's an AE fortress payphone, with a semi-postpay instruction card. Has a dial tone and can make calls. Long distance calls are barred (I assume you would make them via the operator), and I didn't have anyone local to call, so I wasn't 100% able to confirm the semi-postpay operation, but I'm pretty sure it was still set up that way. The phone is in a really neat phone booth that is actually built into a corner of the CO building in Hampton, NE.

 

Ringback can be activated by dialing the phone's own number and hanging up. That's about the only interesting thing I found in the couple of minutes that I had available to play with it.

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Was it a real honest-to-god ACTS fone or was it a COCOTized telco phortress that was programmed to operate in semi-post mode for whatever reason? (like compatibility with old switching or billing equipment that was still in place when it was COCOTized?) When you put the coin in, did you hear the red box trip?

I do like the idea of the phone booth being a little closet in the back of the CO. I've only seen that one other time in my life and it was somewhere in eastern Washington or it might have even been Idaho. I think that's probably an independent-telco thing that you never would have seen Ma Bell doing if she had anything to say about it.

The christmas lights are a nice nostalgic touch too. I don't think ORCHWA01DS0 has had xmas lights on it since probably U.S. West days!

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No shit?  This hard to believe!  Thanks for sharing.

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On 8/24/2017 at 1:28 PM, scratchytcarrier said:

 

Was it a real honest-to-god ACTS fone or was it a COCOTized telco phortress that was programmed to operate in semi-post mode for whatever reason?

 

I do not think it was a COCOT, since it rang on an incoming call. Every COCOT I've played with answered with a modem tone when I called it. I actually didn't have any coins with me (I wasn't planning on stopping to play with this phone, and I seldom have change with me anymore). I was able to attempt to place calls without depositing a coin, but everything I tried gave me a recording saying that long distance calls and calls to mobile phones were barred. I didn't really have anything local to try and call, and I only had a few minutes to mess with it anyway. From everything I tried, it appeared to be a real, ACTS payphone.

 

If I make it out there again, I'll call it from my cell, drop a coin, and see if makes tones.

 

Did you notice it's only 20 cents for a local call?

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I've seen a few, still as of May 2017. Saw one in former Commonwealth Tel. territory (now Frontier) in northeastern Pennsylvania (NPA 570). Sadly only a few of the phones still around are working, and those who are working are only sort of working (static, muffled sound, etc.). In other words, not maintained by the local techs - just left to pretty much rot in place. Full CO controlled, not a COCOT in any way. Up until about 2013 was still able to do intra-LATA long distance, but I think Verizon finally killed that off.

 

Here's a pic of two from my last trip up to NE PA.

 

 

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