Landlines revisited

Way back in 2007, telecom consultant Tom Evslin said: “There Won’t Be Any Landlines in 2013” and I said “I’ll take that bet.”

As I said then, I like bold predictions like this. Tom said: “By 2012 no more reason to use our landlines – so we won’t.” And I’d say that is becoming more and more true.  In 2011, half of twenty-somethings had no landline and, in the six years since Tom’s bold prediction, the number of homes with only wireless and no landline has been steadily increasing. However, the fact is, here in 2013, there are still around 100 million landlines in the U.S. – a far cry from zero.

I think what we can say is the process that I talked about back in 2007 to begin the eradication of landlines is now on the radar. If the plans are not fully developed, we can at least say they are taking shape. The first hurdle for telcos, at least here in the U.S., is the FCC. And we have seen the issue raised:

Basically, most of what I said back in 2007 applies today. In particular, VoIP is still not the significant threat. The threat is simply mobile phones. And, although fiber is more common now than in 2007, the dirty little secret that telecoms provide broadband using DSL over copper still applies too. Nor have telcos gotten any faster changing direction or executing plans once they set their minds to doing something. All this says it still may be a while before “no landlines” becomes reality and even longer until there is no copper plant. However, the big difference between now and 2007 is that at least now the path is clearer and there is light (pun intended) at the end of the copper tunnel.


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