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Businesses

Submission + - Is it time to commit to ongoing payphone availability? 1

jenningsthecat writes: Public payphones seem headed the way of the dinosaur, as noted here on Slashdot 10 years ago, and again by the CBC earlier this year. Reasons typically cited for their demise are falling usage, (thanks to the ubiquitous cell phone), and rising maintenance costs.

But during the recent disaster in NYC caused by Hurricane Sandy public payphones proved their worth, allowing people to stay in contact in spite of the widespread loss of both cellular service and the electricity required to charge mobile devices. In light of this news, at least one Canadian news outlet is questioning the wisdom of scrapping payphones.

Should we in North America make sure that public pay phones will always be widely available? (After all, it's not as though they don't have additional value-added uses). And, should their continued existence be dependent on corporations whose primary duty is to their shareholders, rather than to the average citizen?
Businesses

Submission + - Canadian TV Networks, Carriers duke it out

jenningsthecat writes: In Canada, the war is visibly heating up between television networks, and the telcos and cablecos that provide TV signals to more than 90% of Canadian TV-watchers. Both sides of the debate are airing TV commercials reminiscent of a political campaign, and of course each side has its own website:

http://localtvmatters.ca/

http://www.stopthetvtax.ca/

TV networks, hit hard by declining advertising revenues, are scrambling to make ends meet. They claim that cable and satellite carriers, (who currently don't pay TV stations for the use of their signals), are getting an undeserved free ride; so they're petitioning the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission for new legislation that would require carriers to pony up. On the other side, the carriers point out that the TV networks already receive government funding, and are spinning the networks' pitch as a "TV tax". The cable and satellite carriers have stated that they will pass any such fees on to subscribers.

Networks have been down this road with the CRTC twice before, and have met with no success; this time they're doing their best to get public opinion behind them.

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