A woman bugged about paying toll charges just to talk to her daughter six miles away has won a 17-year battle to get the phone company to change its rate structure.But the victory is not yet complete.
Estelle Simon, 70, of rural Sudbury, can call her daughter's town of Marlboro for free, but Sudbury residents still will be charged for calling Lincoln, which shares a high school with Sudbury, because of how the system is wired."Can you believe this?" Simon said in an interview this week. "I blew my top."
In fact, there will still be a charge to call the local crisis line six miles away in Acton.
"People who are about to commit suicide are not going to make a toll call," Simon scoffed.
Simon decided to take on AT&T - then the largest corporation in the world - in 1973 when her daughter moved a toll call away to neighboring Marlboro.
Thanks to Simon, New England Telephone Co. on Oct. 19 will eliminate toll charges for calls between neighboring exchanges and reduce rates for other in-state calls. The ruling affects more than 100 exchanges around the state.
Public Utilities officials had said during the battle that Simon's case was so well documented that New England Telephone would probably be forced to overhaul its whole rate structure.