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Behind The Mic With Joe Mathieu: Landline Phones Heading For Extinction?

By Joe Mathieu, WBZ NewsRadio 1030
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BOSTON (CBS) – We hear a lot about people cutting the cord these days and it’s usually about cable TV.

But households are also cutting the cord on their old landline phone service too.

More than 100 million copper lines have disconnected since the turn of the century, according to one estimate. And the big phone companies are ready to hang up on the whole thing.

The Wall Street Journal reports Verizon and AT&T are busy lobbying state governments to allow them to replace the old wire-line phone service, which dates back to the 1800’s, with the same networks that bring the internet into your home.

They call it internet protocol or IP. And you may already have it if you get phone service in a bundle with cable and internet.

But the FCC has been slow to drop copper because things we take for granted in the city, like 4G cell service and ubiquitous wifi, are not as available in rural areas.

The feds say safety is a real concern in smaller towns, particularly when it comes to the reliability of alarm systems, medical monitoring systems and 911.

That’s why the FCC is launching an experiment with AT&T using volunteers from rural areas to test life without a landline.

The change is inevitable.

A telecom trade group says only 1 in 4 American households will have a copper phone line at the end of this year.

Follow Joe on Twitter @joemathieuwbz

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