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Not Necessarily News September 2000

Channel Partners

September 1, 2000

2 Min Read
Not Necessarily News

Posted: 09/2000

Overheard …

“Competition in communications, like other ‘networked’ industries such as electric power, railroads and airlines, depends on open, cost-effective and nondiscriminatory connection of the networks of competing companies.”

–James Q. Crowe, president and CEO, Level 3 Communications Inc.
(www.level3.com), on megamergers and competition in the telecommunications industry.

Plug Pulled on Park Payphone

California’s Mojave Desert is a bit drier and less hospitable, for the Mojave Phone Booth is no more. The booth, made famous through the Internet beginning in 1997 after thousands of people from around the world began calling it, has been carted away, a
victim of its own celebrity.

As the booth’s fame grew, fans began trekking into the Mojave National Preserve to visit the booth, located more than a dozen miles from the nearest interstate between Baker, Calif., and Las Vegas. Pacific Bell
(www.pacbell.com) tore down the booth in May as part of what the company calls an agreement with the National Park Service
(www.nps.gov), which administers the preserve. PacBell says, “Increased public traffic had a negative impact on the desert environment.” As many as 35 people a week visited the booth.

“From what I understand from the National Park Service, there was litter [and] there had been fires,” PacBell spokesperson Steve Getzug says. “So, there was a concern about not so much the booth but the activity around it.”

However, Park Service officials say PacBell removed the phone, not the Park Service. Apparently, the right of way for the booth and its associated transmission line expired in 1992, and PacBell “did not request a renewal.”

There’s little chance the booth will return–a probability not lost on many of its fans–for despite its notoriety, Getzug says the phone wasn’t a “revenue generator” for the Bell company.

Illustration: Alternate Channel

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