TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Home Phones Face Uncertain Future

Re: Home Phones Face Uncertain Future

Mark Roberts (
Mon, 25 Oct 2004 02:39:05 -0000

Rick Merrill <> had written:

> Lisa Minter wrote:

>> Nokia in the UK seems to feel landline phones will be gone entirely
>> in the next few years, at least in many countries, replaced by
>> cellular phones. Check out this link:

>> The fixed line phone in the home could soon disappear, a study by
>> mobile firm Nokia shows.

>> < >

> As unbelievable as it seems to us today, land lines in the USA ten (10)
> years from now (2004) will probably down 60% yet total phones will have
> increased by 30%. How? Cell phones obviously, but also VoIP is poised to
> expand very rapidly. Why? Widespread availability of broad band and
> virtually NO REGULATION (as compared to land line phones) ==> Half the
> Cost of today's "land line phones" for home and business. - RM

Not just VOIP, though it certainly is poised to become a player.
(Five cents a minute to Europe on Vonage is hard to beat, even with
Vonage's sometimes-inflexible policies. But I now see that Packet8
offers *two* cents a minute to some countries in Europe!)

Anyhow, the PSTN still offers two things that aren't true for cell
phones: ubiquity and reliability. While cell phones may *seem* to be
nearly ubiquitous, there are a *lot* of areas with poor coverage.

Where I live in Oakland, California, only two carriers manage to put
in a signal -- and those only sporadically. And that's not the only
spot in the Bay Area with poor cellphone coverage.

Likewise, VOIP relies upon "somebody else" to provide data
transport. If that "somebody else" is a two-way cable connection,
you'll lose it during power outages. While Comcast is pretty good
about rolling a truck to our area whenever our power goes out which,
thanks to the poor maintenance practices of PG&E is distressingly
common during winter storms, you still can't do anything without power
to the cable modem. Similar considerations apply to DSL, though a UPS
might keep you going for a little longer.

All of these considerations mean that we are keeping our two
landlines. We have them on measured-rate service and have no
custom-calling features, but in a pinch, we're sure they'll be there
-- something that can't be said for cell phones or VOIP.

Mark Roberts | "You'll know gas prices are hurting when you see headlines
Oakland, Cal.| about plunging sales of sport utility vehicles."
NO HTML MAIL | -- Floyd Norris, New York Times, October 23, 2004

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