TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Yielding Party Lines

Yielding Party Lines
5 Jan 2005 13:14:46 -0800

Recently there was a discussion of party lines and use thereof.
According to the criminal code:

> Refusing to yield a party line
> A person is guilty of a disorderly persons offense when, being
> informed that a party line is needed for an emergency call, he refuses
> immediately to relinquish such line.

> "Party line" means a subscriber's line telephone circuit,
> consisting of two or more main telephone stations connected therewith,
> each station with a distinctive ring or telephone number.

> "Emergency call" means a telephone call to a police or fire
> department or for medical aid or ambulance service, necessitated by a
> situation in which human life or property is in jeopardy and prompt
> summoning of aid is essential.

In other states, the law also states that claiming an emergency when
none exists is also an offense.

It is my understanding that some POTS users still have party line
service these days. It would appear that using computer modems on
such lines that would prevent interuption for emergency would be a
violation of this law.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: This is the reason why telco tariffs
also state that no 'attachments' (i.e. even telephones other than the
ones supplied by telco itself) can be used on party lines. Modems are
not permitted under tariff on party lines. PAT]

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