That is a fixed charge, in addition to which, of course, there is a large revenue arising from the fact that you have for all practical purposes in rural areas to pay 2d, or 3d, or even more, every time you make a call on the telephone.
So £5pa, provided you are within 1.5 miles of the exchange. That, incidentally, is equivalent to £274pa today, or £23pm.
What if you were more than 1.5 miles from the exchange? I'm glad you asked.
Wow. If you have a "rural" line that sits 5 miles from the exchange, you could have ended up paying £33pa line rental - £1800pa today, or £150pm.
They did things differently back then. No subsidising those on long copper lines - who today want to pay less for the lower speeds!
The scheme that led to these charges - the 1922 rural exchanges scheme - looks to have been "successful". 900 exchanges, serving 14,000 lines, were opened. But it cost £21m, and incurred losses of £50 per subscriber per year.
But perhaps things aren't always different. Just like FoD, it seems these higher charges need to be paid again and again:
Or perhaps you'd like to be able to use your phone overnight? That'll cost more, of course! ...
The vicar was paying the equivalent of £50pm line rental.
There is also the usual comparison with the superb service going on elsewhere in the world:
... a situation that wasn't going to change in a few decades.
There are many more gems in there, including some anecdotes from India, but I will finish on this:
For many years in the Colonial Office we had no telephone at all because it was thought to be an American invention.
During many years that I was at the Colonial Office there was a telephone in one obscure cupboard on the first floor. At any time that any member of the staff was rung up he had to be sent for in his office and had to go down to this obscure cupboard to speak on the telephone.
I think the late Mr. Joseph Chamberlain was the first statesman at the Colonial Office who succeeded in abstracting from the Treasury a desk telephone for his private secretary and afterwards desk telephones for his assistant secretaries. That was the temper in which our official regulators always regarded the telephone.
The bean counters in the treasury at it again.