October 15, 2013

On a New Jersey Islet, Twilight of the Landline - NYTimes.com

The inevitable is upon us. POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) is nearly dead

As George Gilder predicted in 1995 in his book Telecosm, the copper telephone network must/will die because of the dual drivers of rapid technological advances and the 'socialist' morass of subsidies and regulatory overburden that ruled the copper network fostering Universal Service in the U.S during the last 70+ years.

Gilder had this to say:
"The fact is that the universality of telephones is crucial to their usefulness; yet universal service using current technology is totally uneconomical and impractical. Snow and ice are the least of it. The basic problem is the architecture of the system, with a separate pair of lines, on average two miles long, devoted exclusively to each user. It simply does not pay to lay, entrench, string, protect, test and maintain miles of copper wire pairs, each dedicated to one household that uses them on average some 15 or 20 minutes a day."
...the idea persists that wireless telephony is an expensive supplement to the existing copper colossus rather than a deadly rival of it. The installed base of
twisted-pair wire still appears to many to be a barrier to entry for new competitors in the local loop, rather than a barrier to RBOC entry into modern communications markets.
The conventional wisdom sees the electromagnetic spectrum as a scarce resource. Few believe that it will soon emerge as a cheaper and better alternative to the local loop, in the same way that microwave emerged as a cheaper and better substitute for copper long-distance wires. 

The death throes will be played out in many locales typified by this example in Mantoloking, NJ.
On a New Jersey Islet, Twilight of the Landline - NYTimes.com: "Verizon’s move on this sliver of land is a look into the not-too-distant future, a foreshadowing of nearly all telephone service across the United States. The traditional landline is not expected to last the decade in a country where nearly 40 percent of households use only wireless phones. Even now, less than 10 percent of households have only a landline phone, according to government data that counts cable-based phone service in that category."

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