$5.00 = $130.00
May 23, 1903: The Old World Gets Connected
Paris, France and Rome, Italy are connected by telephone for first time. A note of rates on toll between Rome and Paris. It will be remembered that the line is about 1000 miles long, and the rates for a three minute conversation between the two cities between the hours of 6am and 9pm is $0.81 (about $21.50 in today’s dollar). From 9pm to 6 am is $0.41 (about $11.00 in today’s dollar)
Compared with the rates charged by the British post office for a conversation between London and Paris which is $1.95 (about $51.00 in today’s dollar) for three minutes (with no reduction for night service). It will be observed that a telephone conversation between London and Paris is more expensive than with any other capital in Europe.
In comparison to the American telephone user, in 1903 the Chicago-New York three minute rate being $5.00 for day service. The tariff between Rome-Paris and the Chicago-New York line indicates a difference of about 600%.
That is about $130.00 in today’s dollar!