My wife and I sold our house on Christmas Eve and purchased a new one on New Year's Eve. Wild times this holiday season I can tell ya. On top of that I contracted H1N1 and Pneumonia - I can't tell you how much fun that was.
One of the things we've been talking about is whether we're going to order landline(s) for the new house. My wife and I both have mobile phones of course and our kids don't get phone calls but by the time they do, they'll probably have their own mobile numbers. I've always argued with my wife about having wired phones in the house (I'm OK with cordless phones, but wanted at least one wired phone in case of a power outage). I won that argument after a huge winter storm knocked out power for a few days and she was able to call people because I had the necessary wired phones available to her. It's always fun to be right....
Anyway, since I work for AT&T now and get pretty good pricing on phone lines, I decided that even though the trend was to go completely wireless rather than installing landlines that I'd get one anyway (actually three - home, home office and one for McNelly SoftWorks) just because it would be very convenient. The house we purchased is 11 years old, so it still hase RJ-11 jacks everywhere. Not sure that would be the case in any new house I purchase/build in the next couple of years. So, for this house we're installing landlines expecting that not to be the case for the next one.
I was looking through the press the other day and found the following article: AT&T wants the FCC's blessing to shut down PSTN which indicates that AT&T (the number one provider of Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) in the United States) has begun lobbying the FCC to allow it to shut down the landline telephone service. It makes sense, everyone nowadays is using their mobile phone as their primary phone numbers; any kid coming out of college will have one number and will never install a landline in any apartment or house. It won't be very long before landlines become more and more expensive because less and less people are using them. What does it mean for businesses?
Even though consumers aren't using landline phones anymore - how does a business have a phone number if AT&T is shutting down the analog Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)? Of course everything switches to the broadband netywork. We'll all be using VOIP I expect and companies and old guys like me will be getting their POTS line through my high-speed broadband connection running into the house. I expect service will be the same, but it will require more hardware I expect and an ever bigger load on the broadband connection.
I expect it would relieve a huge burden if AT&T didn't have to maintain both PSTN and broadband networks. Getting rid of the analog network would allow them to dedicate much more money toward providing better broadband and wireless service. I wonder how long it will take them to get approval and to get the network shut down. 10 years? 20 years? 50 years?
What I'm interesting in seeing is when the wireless carriers finally get their act together and allow VOIP for mobile calls as well - how cool would it be if I could get my personal number and my business number ringing on the same mobile device? It's a smartphone, right? Should be smart enough to do that.
Time will tell...