Why Rochester Telephone was not part of the Bell System

You may not have known that telephone service in Rochester was originally provided by the Bell System. That is, until the telephone strike of November, 1886.

That was when Bell announced a rate increase that charged customers by the call once they reached 500 calls for the year. Angry Rochester phone customers then took their phones off the hook for 18 months before Bell relented but not before losing their franchise with the city.

In the aftermath the expiration of Alexander Graham Bell’s patent and a desire for a locally-based phone company resulted in the formation of the Home Telephone Company in 1899. It was renamed the Rochester Telephone Company by the end of the year. They obtained an exclusive franchise in April of 1899 and began service in 1900.

Hat tip to Dan Lewis and Now I Know.

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