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Long Distance Calls

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BUSINESS
By Leslie Cauley | November 28, 1991
A software programming error caused 113,000 Maryland and Washington customers of Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. to be billed several times for some long-distance calls last month. Affected accounts will receive a credit on next month's bills.The latest snafu represents the second time in four months that area phone customers have been overcharged because of a problem with C&P's billing software.In October, C&P said it had discovered in August that it had been erroneously charging some Anne Arundel customers for a county tax that had long been discontinued.
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BUSINESS
By Gregory Karp | March 6, 2005
Where choice and competition exist in a marketplace, bargains abound. And few industries are as fiercely competitive as long-distance phone service. That competition has led to significantly lower rates and new ways of talking across the miles in recent years. That will remain true despite recently announced mergers involving long-distance carriers AT&T Corp. and MCI Inc. But consumers are being sucked in by heavily promoted phone plans that seem to be bargains but can be more expensive.
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BUSINESS
By - John Moran/Hartford Courant | February 15, 2004
"Dial-around" long-distance plans promise deep discounts, but with 10-10-this and 10-15-that, trying to figure out which provider is best for calling a particular area can make your head spin. Sorting out that mess is the perfect job for a Web site and, sure enough, someone has built one. It's called 10-10phonerates.com. The site offers information and comparison shopping on the wide range of dial-around providers. Features include consumer alerts when providers try to sneak through higher rates, advice on how to choose a plan and comparisons on intrastate, interstate and international long-distance.
BUSINESS
By Gregory Karp | March 28, 2004
One of the best ways to improve your finances is to stop overpaying for regular expenditures. And chances are, you're overpaying for long-distance phone service. That's especially true if you've gone years without comparing offerings. Call quality is mostly the same no matter which long-distance company you choose, so it makes sense to shop by price. And because consumers have more choices than ever, you can tailor your long-distance service to fit your calling habits. "People are spending too much," said John Breyault, spokesman for the Telecommunications Research & Action Center, a consumer advocacy group based in Washington.
BUSINESS
By Timothy J. Mullaney and Timothy J. Mullaney,SUN STAFF | May 4, 1997
When Congress passed last year's landmark telecommunications reform law, advocates said consumers' biggest short-term savings would come when regulators tackled what long-distance companies and consumer groups call the biggest piece of fat in the phone system -- the fees that long-distance carriers pay the Baby Bells to connect calls to their networks. But the Federal Communications Commission's order on so-called access charges is expected for Wednesday, and now it looks as if many of the promises will prove to be wrong, or at least overly optimistic.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Stroh and Michael Stroh,SUN STAFF | November 2, 1998
Every time Joseph and Dubby Balter pick up the phone to make a long-distance call, the Baltimore couple become communication-age pioneers.What's so special about their telephone service? At first blush, very little. When Joseph wants to call his sister in Australia, for instance, he picks up his phone, punches in a calling-card number, and the phone rings 12,000 miles away.But once he starts to talk, he's on the cutting edge. The Balters use a long-distance service called Net2Phone Direct by IDT Corp.
BUSINESS
By Gregory Karp | March 6, 2005
Where choice and competition exist in a marketplace, bargains abound. And few industries are as fiercely competitive as long-distance phone service. That competition has led to significantly lower rates and new ways of talking across the miles in recent years. That will remain true despite recently announced mergers involving long-distance carriers AT&T Corp. and MCI Inc. But consumers are being sucked in by heavily promoted phone plans that seem to be bargains but can be more expensive.
BUSINESS
By BLOOMBERG NEWS | January 28, 1999
NEW YORK -- AT&T Corp., the largest U.S. phone company, said yesterday that it will offer wireless, long-distance and calling-card services at the same 10-cents-a-minute rate on a single bill, a first in the U.S. phone industry.AT&T Personal Network charges customers $29.99 a month plus 10 cents a minute for wireless and long-distance calls or $44.95 a month to have AT&T WorldNet Internet access included. The new services will be available Sunday.AT&T's Personal Network is expected to appeal to the 25 million U.S. households that buy multiple products, like Internet access and wireless, and spend about 2.5 times more each month on phone services than the average household.
BUSINESS
By Leslie Cauley | May 31, 1991
Some Maryland customers of American Telephone & Telegraph Co. are getting a nasty surprise in this month's phone bill -- charges of six times the norm for some long-distance calls.According to Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co., a programming error in C&P's billing software caused 200,831 long-distance calls placed by Maryland residents to be billed at rates up to six times higher than usual.C&P, which does billing for the long-distance companies, corrected the problem May 17. But by that time the programming error had already miscalculated the cost of almost half a million calls from Washington, Maryland and Virginia.
NEWS
By Greg Garland and Greg Garland,SUN STAFF | May 31, 2001
Reacting to complaints that relatives of Maryland prison inmates are being gouged by high prices for prison telephone calls, the Board of Public Works delayed action yesterday on two new contracts for the service. Gov. Parris N. Glendening asked that the five-year contracts be pulled from the board's agenda, pointing to a request by Del. Joseph F. Vallario Jr., a Prince George's County Democrat. The charges for prison phone service are high, largely because a big share of the revenue generated goes to the state, which uses the money for inmate welfare programs.
BUSINESS
By - John Moran/Hartford Courant | February 15, 2004
"Dial-around" long-distance plans promise deep discounts, but with 10-10-this and 10-15-that, trying to figure out which provider is best for calling a particular area can make your head spin. Sorting out that mess is the perfect job for a Web site and, sure enough, someone has built one. It's called 10-10phonerates.com. The site offers information and comparison shopping on the wide range of dial-around providers. Features include consumer alerts when providers try to sneak through higher rates, advice on how to choose a plan and comparisons on intrastate, interstate and international long-distance.
ENTERTAINMENT
By MICHAEL HIMOWITZ | October 2, 2003
WHEN ADVANCES in technology collide with the Constitution, the fireworks are always interesting. For example, Congress has tried three times to regulate porn on the Internet. The Bush administration wants to use the Patriot Act to sniff through our e-mail, listen to our phone calls and browse our library records. The Transportation Department wants to create a massive computer database with information on every place we've traveled, everything we've bought, everybody we've called - maybe everything we've eaten.
BUSINESS
By Andrew Ratner and Andrew Ratner,SUN STAFF | December 8, 2002
California to Baltimore just became a local phone call. Strange as that may sound, it's part of an offering by a new company that specializes in Internet-based telephone service - the latest technology promising to make phone service even more unrecognizable than several years ago. Vonage DigitalVoice of Edison, N.J., is one of the first companies to offer exclusive voice-over Internet service in Maryland. Vonage has signed up about 5,000 customers across the country since March. The brief history of Internet-based telephone is littered with fallen telecom start-ups, but the technology has improved and Vonage's offerings are unlike anything most phone customers are used to. "Vonage is the first pure play I'm aware of in the U.S."
NEWS
By Greg Garland and Greg Garland,SUN STAFF | May 31, 2001
Reacting to complaints that relatives of Maryland prison inmates are being gouged by high prices for prison telephone calls, the Board of Public Works delayed action yesterday on two new contracts for the service. Gov. Parris N. Glendening asked that the five-year contracts be pulled from the board's agenda, pointing to a request by Del. Joseph F. Vallario Jr., a Prince George's County Democrat. The charges for prison phone service are high, largely because a big share of the revenue generated goes to the state, which uses the money for inmate welfare programs.
BUSINESS
By Jane Bryant Quinn | August 20, 2000
A FRIEND recently asked me a question about her phone company's directory assistance service. "Don't get me started," I groaned, and then couldn't keep my mouth shut. Here's my rant: We're paying more and getting less. Have you any idea what it costs to call an information operator? A long-distance query through AT&T's traditional 555-1212 service costs $1.99 per call, up 80 percent in the past seven months. Its shortcut 00 service costs $1.49, up 50 percent. If it's any consolation, you can get two numbers at a time.
NEWS
June 12, 2000
WITHOUT even responding to the nickel-and-dime advertising come-ons of telephone companies, consumers soon should see lower long-distance bills. We say should because phone companies invariably seem to find ways to jack up our bills even as they publicize lower rates. That's what happened this month when AT&T Corp. tried to raise its per-minute rates right after it joined the Federal Communications Commission in announcing a multibillion-dollar cut in basic long-distance charges. The FCC then jawboned AT&T into withdrawing the planned per-minute hikes.
BUSINESS
By BLOOMBERG NEWS | August 31, 1999
NEW YORK -- AT&T Corp., the largest U.S. telephone company, introduced its cheapest-ever wireless and long-distance plans yesterday, including a 7 cents-a-minute package for long-distance calls anytime, after rivals slashed prices.AT&T also said it expects to meet earnings estimates of $2.13 to $2.20 a share in 1999 and $2.10 to $2.15 in 2000. In 1998, AT&T earned $2.31, excluding the purchase of cable- television company Tele-Communications Inc.Even with the cut in long-distance rates, AT&T's new plan is more than the 5 cents-a-minute rate that MCI WorldCom Inc. and Sprint Corp.
NEWS
By Todd Richissin and Todd Richissin,SUN STAFF | June 7, 2000
When Ray Lewis returns to Maryland from his aborted trial in Atlanta, he'll join more than 97,000 people in the state - including crack addicts, petty thieves and defrauders of the elderly - to be on parole or probation. But he won't be treated the same as the Maryland masses who have done wrong. Lewis' probation obligations amount to 28 long-distance telephone calls over a year to counselors at a private company, informing them whether he has violated the terms by using alcohol or drugs.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Jean Nash Johnson and Jean Nash Johnson,KNIGHT RIDDER / TRIBUNE | December 20, 1999
It's close to midnight, you're exhausted and just want to quickly get online, go to iVillage.com to research information on your baby's rash, then sign off.Suddenly, from the computer comes that familiar chime along with a pop-up screen with the letters AYT (Are you there?) next to your sister's screen name. Do you ignore the intrusion or do you take the extra time to start an instant message conversation?It's one of many quandaries that the 63 million users who send more than 750 million instant messages a day find themselves in. As instant messaging grows in popularity and reach, users and manners experts say it's time for ground rules.
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