Yesterday I found myself in need of a payphone. Someone was waiting for me, and I was delayed. Hardly a matter of life and death, but I really didn't want to leave my friend hanging for an hour or more. My phone was dead. Defective battery, as it turned out. So I went looking for a payphone. I tried six payphones, and each one was out of order. I went into a local business and asked if I could use their phone. I was directed to the broken payphone outside. Fine. Private businesses have no obligation to let people wander in off the street and use their phones. I continuted my search for a working payphone and eventually found one. Life went on.
But WHY are there so few working payphones? Doesn't Aliant have some kind of obligation to maintain them? My situation wasn't urgent, but it's not hard to imagine a scenario with more serious consequences. A strong argument could be made that payphones are an essential service. Someone needs to maintain them.