Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Death of the Landline?


I had an interesting conversation with my grandparents during their visit to my house over the holiday weekend.
“Tammy, just so you know if you try to call, our phone isn’t working right.” said my grandfather as he sat on the couch playing with my one-year old son.
When I asked him what was wrong, he explained the he had to wait for the telephone company to come out and repair the cord which had broken on their phone.
I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself as I remembered that my grandparents live in a different world – a world without cell phones or 3G or 4G or dropped calls or fiber optic cables. My grandparents still rent their cream colored, corded telephone from the local phone company and this is their only means of communicating with the outside world. They do not have voicemail or even an antiquated answering machine system. It’s just Nana and Pop-Pop and their rented telephone.
My thought process probably would have ended their except that my son was sitting on his great-grandfather’s lap playing with a traditional style plastic telephone. It was in that moment that I realized that he will grow up not knowing that phones have cords and he may not even realize that this plastic toy he plays with has the same purpose as the coveted iphone toy that he always tries to steal from mommy and daddy.
CNN.com recently posted an article about how landlines are doomed. The article stated that nearly 32% of American households are now cell-phone only households (mine included!). According to the article,
“Analysts say AT&T will likely consider ditching its holdings in regions where it doesn't intend to deliver its U-Verse cable TV and broadband Internet service, similar to how Verizon sold off non-FiOS areas. What Verizon sold to Frontier was mostly legacy copper-based infrastructure from its 2000 merger with GTE. Its remaining landline infrastructure is now 70% FiOS-capable with fiber-optic cables.
There's one little obstacle to shedding aging landline assets: Finding someone that wants them.”
While telecom giants of the world will probably not ditch the landline sector completely in the immediate future because customers still do exists, it’s definitely a glimpse into the current state and future of the telecommunication industry.