This is a follow-up to this post about the early telephone systems in Butte. I happened on rate information from 1882, when the rates in Butte were “less than Omaha” or any place in the east. Remember that the telephone was invented in 1876.
The central office was in Owsley Hall (Main Street north of Park) in 1884, and if it was elsewhere in 1882, it was certainly somewhere in the central business district. In 1882, customers paid $24 per quarter (3 months) if they were within a mile of Central, with a surcharge of $3 per quarter mile beyond the first mile. Two miles beyond the exchange office cost you $36 a quarter, or $144 per year. Right – no discount.
At the time miners earned $3.50 a day, so I’d speculate that $8 per month was not out of their reach, although it would likely have been seen as a luxury. As indicated in the previous post, the number of customers soared quickly as Butte grew.