In this day and age of advanced mobile phones, are payphones becoming obsolete? Despite the outlook, Bell Canada and Bell Aliant are seeking to double the cost of local payphone use from 50 cents to $1.
When was the last time you used a payphone in Canada? Prior to 2007, it cost only a quarter to dial a local number. For the past five years now, Canadians have had to fish 50 cents from their pockets to use a payphone. That price may double soon if a certain application is approved.
Bell Canada and its subsidiary Bell Aliant have filed an application to the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission to approve an increase of local payphone use to $1 and non-cash payphone payments to $2.
According to the company, the hike in prices is to offset the costs in modifying its equipment. The Royal Canadian Mint plans to change how the loonie is made this year, which will force Bell to update payphones across the country. It was announced that the Mint will make loonies and toonies out of steel.
Bell also argues that since people use payphones less and mobile phones more, it needs to recover the costs.
There is uproar among advocacy groups that are urging the application be rejected. They contend that impoverished individuals will have a difficult time being able to afford such an added expense.
“We don’t think Bell’s proposed payphone charge increase is right. But we want you to give your two cents worth to the CRTC on Bell’s proposed price increase to four quarters (or one whole loonie) for payphone calls made with coins,” wrote the Public Interest Advocacy Centre in a media release. “That’s because the CRTC will decide whether to give Bell this price raise or not. And whether you’ll have to find more coins to make a call.”
The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) states that as of late 2011, there are more than 25.5 million cellphones in Canada out of a population of 34.4 million.