The only Payphone in Chambers NB made less than 4$ of revenu in 2011, which may spark a debate between the telephone company and the Public Service Commission about the future of Payphones in the small rural town.
Chambers is a tiny city of just over 250 people, most of whom own a mobile phone and have little use for the quarter eating phones.
K & M Telephone Company, which manages the phone, believes that it should be removed because it’s hardly used and costs too much to maintain. Company says it spent 1,469$ maintaining 2 public phones in 2 neighboring towns which resulted in a revenu of minus 1,460$.
The Public Service Commission of Nebraska which is in charge of assuring that “Nebraskans receive high quality, safe and reliable public services at fair and affordable rates” mandated the Phone company to maintain at least 1 Payphone per city. PSC Communications Director Gene Hand stands by the regulation ”If you didn’t have telephone service, or if you were not from this community, and you need to communicate, that’s an option for you.”
K & M sees things differently ”It’s just kind of a thing of the past. It doesn’t make sense to keep those there.”
The phone company also believes that PSC has no say in the matter since phone services were deregulated. PSC director response was that deregulation affected how much the phone companies charge for their service, not the rule about maintaining at least one payphone per community.
The stance of K & M is neither the exception nor the rule. Another phone company operating in the rural part of Nebraska Keystone-Arthur Telephone Co. currently has no plans for removing it’s Payphone which is mostly used by the tourists and is not paying itself off.
Rules stipulate that phone companies may request waivers for removal of Payphones in such instances as vandalism and unreasonable expenses as well as lack of use.
Additional information is available in Journal star article written by Peter Salter