By Bob Weaver|
The so-called elimination of toll charges between Calhoun and Gilmer
County could be a wipe-out for some consumers, unless you are willing or
able to pay for top-of-the-line calling plans.
Most customers will continue to pay by-the-minute fees, which apparently
are less than the previous long distance charges.
Calhoun and Gilmer customers who are not on the PREMIUM PLAN will be
billed by-the-minute charges, when their calls automatically go through.
A request for the per-minute charges was not returned by Frontier-Citizens,
but they indicated it would be a "few cents" per minute. A news release said
the charge would be about 25 cents for five minutes.
Calhoun phone customers who are on the COMMUNITY PLUS calling plan for
$22 a month, which currently allows calling to some neighboring counties
without additional charges, must now upgrade to the PREMIUM plan to call
Gilmer at $29 a month for "toll free" calling. The upgrade will also also cost
a $9.50 one time charge.
The annual investment is $84 a year (plus $9.50 hook-up fee) to call Gilmer
County "toll free."
A Hur Herald reader was concerned that calls automatically go through to
Gilmer (on a lesser calling plan), but customers will still be billed
by-the-minute charges. "I don't believe a lot of people were made aware of
this when the new calling system was discussed," they said. "They might be
shocked when they get their bill."
It was unclear what rates would be for customers on the COMMUNITY
CALLING or BASIC CALLING plans.
When the lowering of the phone barrier between Gilmer and Calhoun was
discussed in the community and the media, and changes were sought
though the PSC and the FCC, it was implied that "local calling" meant toll
charges were to be eliminated.
The grass-roots movement led by a Gilmer County businessman was based
on removing the toll charges.
An earlier press release from Frontier-Citizens regarding the changes in the
system lacked detail and did not provide adequate consumer information,
although a company spokesperson indicated such information was inserted
in the phone bill.