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WSJ: Prepare To Hang Up the Phone — Forever

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the rotary-phones-won't-breed-in-captivity dept.

Communications 449

retroworks writes: "Telecom giants AT&T and Verizon Communications are lobbying states, one by one, to hang up the plain, old telephone system, what the industry now calls POTS — the copper-wired landline phone system whose reliability and reach made the U.S. a communications powerhouse for more than 100 years. Is landline obsolete, and should be immune from grandparents-era social protection? The article continues, 'Last week, Michigan joined more than 30 other states that have passed or are considering laws that restrict state-government oversight and eliminate "carrier of last resort" mandates, effectively ending the universal-service guarantee that gives every U.S. resident access to local-exchange wireline telephone service, the POTS. (There are no federal regulations guaranteeing Internet access.) ... In Mantoloking, N.J., Verizon wants to replace the landline system, which Hurricane Sandy wiped out, with its wireless Voice Link. That would make it the first entire town to go landline-less, a move that isn't sitting well with all residents."

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no access to POT... (0)

Mr_Nitro (1174707) | about 9 months ago | (#46613401)

that's unconstitutional!

A Good Thing For America and Americans (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613403)

Are you pro America? If you are you are for this. End POTS now! It is the future!

Fine, get rid of POTS, give us Net Neutrality (4, Insightful)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about 9 months ago | (#46613407)

Seems like a fair trade.

Re:Fine, get rid of POTS, give us Net Neutrality (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613449)

A fair trade? Why on earth would you expect a fair trade? America is a capitalist country, and capitalism is all about fucking over the little guy at every turn; there will be no fair trade, or any trade at all. They will get what they want, we will be worse off for it, and if you complain you must be a pinko commie liberal nutjob.

Wow, that was so full of stupid... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613551)

I REAL capitalism, when you screw over your customers, they leave you and go to the competition. In fake capoitalism (read government controlled), you're pretty much the only game in town and have a protected monopoly and can screw your customers with impunity.... Kinda like the current utilities system we have.

Re:Wow, that was so full of stupid... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613569)

Stupid commies down vote in 3... 2... 1...

Re:Wow, that was so full of stupid... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613571)

In the real world, ISPs rely on laying cables, and allowing any schmuck to lay cables throughout your neighborhood is a recipe for disaster. Realizing this, a competent (ie, non-Randroid) local government would require the companies that lay cables to sell usage of their cables at a fair price to competitors to promote healthy competition. Unfortunately, Randroids rule the day, and the companies that are allowed to lay cables cannot be burdened with regulations because ARGLE BARGLE FREE MARKET, and so we are in the situation that we are in.

Re:Wow, that was so full of stupid... (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613601)

Yeah, people who pay for the cables, the installation, the maintenance, and the repair should be forced to allow the competition on their infrastructure even though it might interfere with their operation. I mean, we need to control who can lay cables and only allow our biggest political contributors and/or the highest bidder to lay infrastructure. Because Randroids HARG ARGLE BLARGLE...

Re:Wow, that was so full of stupid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613643)

Hence "fair price", you stupid cunt.

Re:Wow, that was so full of stupid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613779)

hey now.

Any cunt that can post on slashdot is a very SMART cunt.

I mean just using your labia to manipulate the keyboard is pretty darned smart.

Re:Wow, that was so full of stupid... (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 9 months ago | (#46613689)

The alternative is that they can negotiate with each individual property owner whose property the cables run through individually. Good luck with that.

Re:Wow, that was so full of stupid... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613775)

Holy shit, a registered slashdotter who actually understands natural monopolies. I feel like I've just seen a unicorn.

Re:Wow, that was so full of stupid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613997)

I have no idea what you are saying, but you seem like an asshole.

Re:Wow, that was so full of stupid... (5, Insightful)

dryeo (100693) | about 9 months ago | (#46613585)

I REAL capitalism, when you screw over your customers, they leave you and go to the competition. In fake capoitalism (read government controlled), you're pretty much the only game in town and have a protected monopoly and can screw your customers with impunity.... Kinda like the current utilities system we have.

In real capitalism, you make sure there is no competition left before you screw over your customers. Being good capitalists does mean using any means to destroy your competition and government is a good tool, fairly cheap and well armed.

Spoken like an American; come to Europe instead (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613765)

Here in the UK, our governments certainly have had many failings but your attitude is completely alien to our way of life.

Over here, we understand that the best way to have real freedom and competition is to have more than one powerful competitor and the government actually works to make sure that happens.

In the town I live in, there are two major supermarkets within 5-10 minutes walking distance of each other and there's another major one on the outskirts of town. If one of them does something stupid, then I would just move my business to another one.

The same goes for other types of businesses.

In other words, you are free to make as much money as you want in the UK (and Europe); you just have to do it in a socially fair and acceptable way.

And BTW, while we are discussing American "freedoms", what's all this about about allowing people to ask for your receipts and inspect your bags when exiting a supermarket in the US even though you are not suspected of doing anything wrong ?

Do you have any idea of the massive uproar which would occur in the UK if a supermarket (like Tesco) was stupid enough to try that over here ?

Such a concept of guilty until proven innocent is totally alien to our way of life and it would result in a massive backlash against the supermarket in question as well as a mass migration to supermarkets who did not treat their customers as criminals.

For a country which has given the world so much, and rightly deserves to be recognised for such, it saddens me to see Americans talk about freedoms and then willingly subject themselves to things which would never be tolerated over here.

Re:Spoken like an American; come to Europe instead (1)

Froggels (1724218) | about 9 months ago | (#46613931)

Do you have any idea of the massive uproar which would occur in the UK if a supermarket (like Tesco) was stupid enough to try that over here ?

Do you have any idea of the massive uproar which would occur in the US if the major TV networks tried to implement a TV licence?

That is not capitalism either. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613987)

'Being good capitalists does mean using any means to destroy your competition and government is a good tool, fairly cheap and well armed.'

It is crony capitalism.

Real capitalism consists of a buyer and a seller who negotiate a fair trade where both can benefit, and everyone else keeps their freaking hands off it.

Re: Wow, that was so full of stupid... (5, Insightful)

Simon Brooke (45012) | about 9 months ago | (#46613709)

In real capitalism, where the government doesn't prevent the development of monopolies, there is no competition to go to when you get fucked over.

Re:Wow, that was so full of stupid... (1)

coastwalker (307620) | about 9 months ago | (#46613861)

Never mind what dialogue a clever psychologist has planted in you Pavlovian brain.

So you want to kill people.

I hope your house is the remote one that doesn't get a signal and is the first to lose POTS.

I look forward to your urgent need to call an ambulance and your untimely death.

If you don't need civilization then the rest of us can do without you.

Re:Wow, that was so full of stupid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613909)

I REAL capitalism, when you screw over your customers, they leave you and go to the competition.

Real capitalism cannot exist they way you described. The world isn't big enough.
There are hundreds of fields where a single company has gained worldwide dominance. Sure, there are competitors, but every distributor is better off playing ball with the big company.

Re:Wow, that was so full of stupid... (0)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 9 months ago | (#46613937)

I can't believe this drivel got upvoted enough for me to see it. In REAL communism all live in peace with equal shares but just like so called "real" capitalism IT WILL NEVER EXIST because money equals power and power WILL be abused.

If you want to believe in the invisible hand fairy go right ahead, at no time and in no place has actually existed.

Re:Wow, that was so full of stupid... (2)

L. J. Beauregard (111334) | about 9 months ago | (#46613945)

I REAL capitalism, when you screw over your customers, they leave you and go to the competition.

Which is selling you exactly the same shit sandwich as the company you left.

Re:Fine, get rid of POTS, give us Net Neutrality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613581)

True dat.

Re:Fine, get rid of POTS, give us Net Neutrality (5, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | about 9 months ago | (#46613515)

So we give up something we've had for years, and in exchange we get to keep something we've had for years? And what happens when they come back in five years saying Net Neutrality is just too much of a burden? What do we give up in ransom next?

Re:Fine, get rid of POTS, give us Net Neutrality (5, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | about 9 months ago | (#46613595)

You guys in the US have had net neutrality for years? News to me. I thought you had this watered down thing where the ISP's along with major peers were giving the thin veneer of that, while saying they're not shaping traffic while slapping in sandvine boxes all the while. I know that it's what Rogers, Bell and Telus were doing in Canada for quite awhile until the CRTC, Industry Canada and the Feds smacked them around.

Re:Fine, get rid of POTS, give us Net Neutrality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613625)

I would rather they allowed any competing company to lease their lines, like they are forced to do under POTS.

how about we keep both (-1, Troll)

globaljustin (574257) | about 9 months ago | (#46613661)

Why should we "trade" two things that benefit society?

Also: who are we trading with?

Republicans?

I haven't looked, but I will wager +10 internets that the people behind these policies and this national movement are **REPUBLICANS**

Who else would be against POTS and Net Neutrality?

Re:how about we keep both (0)

anagama (611277) | about 9 months ago | (#46613977)

When you say "Republicans", do you mean the New GOP (aka Democrats) or the Old GOP (aka parody of itself)?

Once upon a time, Federal prosecutors got prison time for 1100 banksters in the S&L crisis (which was 1/40th the size of the "meltdown"). Exactly how many did Obama prosecute?

And remember, it was under the current regime that GWB's due process free detention was expanded to include due process free execution, via secret legal memo no less.

You Democrats make me want to puke. You're like a bunch of Nixons. Hell, Obamacare is just Nixon's healthcare plan with the liberal parts stripped out. And of course, Obama's NSA would have made Nixon cream his pants ... hourly.

So just sneak off and have a heart attack already you partisan retard. Here's the hint: DNC===GOP===FuckingBastards

Re:Fine, get rid of POTS, give us Net Neutrality (1)

macraig (621737) | about 9 months ago | (#46613941)

The problem with your suggestion is that, like every other American, you have no fucking idea what true network neutrality looks like or how to implement it. What you would ask for, and if you got it what the rest of us would then have to endure, would NOT be network neutrality. One election cycle is all it would take to whisk away the facade and return us to business as usual.

Sure, Just Require Universal Cell Service (5, Insightful)

Fulminata (999320) | about 9 months ago | (#46613421)

As soon as they can guarantee reliable cell service to everyone, they can be allowed to cease providing land line service to everyone.

or 2 competing providers before an area loses POTS (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 9 months ago | (#46613605)

That's not a bad idea. I don't know if you meant truly universal, or "full coverage in the affected area". I think it would be fine to allow an experiment in a town that has had the POTS infrastructure already wiped out, if the town has at least two competing VoIP or wireless carriers with full coverage in the town.

If it works okay in the town that had already lost POTS due to the hurricane, the same policy could be tried elsewhere. The phone company could drop POTS service in the county only if that leaves at least two providers of phone service with full coverage in that county. (Either two wireless, two, VoIP, or both).

In theory, that would be good for everyone. According to the phone company that would be good for them because they wouldn't be forced to use antique methods for rebuilding the network in the town, then maintain it. Consumers would be guaranteed multiple choices and therefore competition. We wouldn't need the government (in cooperation with the phone company) setting rates at 28Â / minute like we had with fully regulated phone service in the 1970s and 1980s because the guaranteed competition would mean companies compete on price and service.

Re:or 2 competing providers before an area loses P (3, Interesting)

dryeo (100693) | about 9 months ago | (#46613621)

The problem is the people outside of town. It's easy to have a cell tower or 2 in the centre of town but to have multiple towers will mean eating into their profits.

That is a cost for the telco to consider (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 9 months ago | (#46613663)

I suspect in certain areas that would indeed be costly for the telco. They'd have to balance that cost against the cost of laying and maintaining copper if they had to cover the entire county. Would they rather keep providing copper to the whole county, or switch to providing fiber or wireless to the county? Either way, the entire county has service.

Re:or 2 competing providers before an area loses P (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613717)

I'm OK with that.

Re:or 2 competing providers before an area loses P (4, Interesting)

sjames (1099) | about 9 months ago | (#46613733)

A big thing is that they don't get to define 'coverage'. Too many areas they claim are covered have terrible and unreliable service. To be covered, it needs to have x signal strength INSIDE each and every home all the time. No dropped calls at all, and no drop outs.

In other words, it needs to be at least as good as properly maintained copper. That also means they will need to have several days of backup power at each cell tower.

And since it costs a lot less than POTS to install and maintain, we expect it to cost less than POTS service. Note that in many areas they will need a low cost voice only unlimited minutes for a flat fee rate.

Re:Sure, Just Require Universal Cell Service (1)

dryeo (100693) | about 9 months ago | (#46613609)

I'm in a big sparse country so not quite the same as the States but if I lost my land line I'd be out of contact. No cell service as I'm 40 miles outside of a city that including suburbs only has a million and half people and internet comes over that land line at a whole 3KB/s. Satellites are behind mountains and trees and lots of rain as well.

At an affordable price (4, Informative)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about 9 months ago | (#46613627)


The price of a land line as far as I know is capped so even remote locations will be able to afford one. Not only that, but I believe that almost every location should be able to get a land line at this price and telcos are mandated to provide that service.

If telcos want to go wireless, they are essentially talking about getting the "last mile" out of the equation. How they get (voice) data from and to the neighborhoods isn't mandated. This has already led to phone systems being out on the fritz when they are most needed, because phone companies decided to cheapskate on things like electrical power availability, line of sight and such. The telephone system has helped keep communications going for disaster areas throughout the last 100 years or so with varying amounts of success. Lets at least get them to do it properly if they are ever allowed to replace it so people can be certain it's affordable and it will work even in disaster circumstances when the reliability is required most.

Re:Sure, Just Require Universal Cell Service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613697)

And it would be nice if the service fucking worked! I live in a major US city and cell service is spotty at best. 4G Internet access, which I'm paying for, is even harder to come by. Worst of all if there's some kind of major event that has a massive crowd, good luck being able to get any sort of cell service. Cell service needs to improve by leaps and bounds. It still feels like it's stuck in a beta testing rollout.

Re:Sure, Just Require Universal Cell Service (1)

anubi (640541) | about 9 months ago | (#46613753)

I have been a landline user for about a half-century.

This is how they are "encouraging" the abandonment of landline service.... they are hiking the bills through the roof!

I used to pay about $6 a month for service. Now its right around $40. PER MONTH!

I hardly ever use the damn thing... I guess I just want one around for emergencies... anyone have any recommendations for me?

Re:Sure, Just Require Universal Cell Service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613819)

You're funny. AT&T can't even provide decent service in the top ten urban areas of the US so your demand is just ridiculous. You know you're being a ridiculous amrat-ass. Please stop your trolling. AT&T can't provide decent service, and you know it.. Go fuck yourself.

So who is liable for our $300 billion refund? (4, Interesting)

witherstaff (713820) | about 9 months ago | (#46613431)

With carriers having overcharged over 300 billion [newnetworks.com] who is then on the hook if there are no more landline companies? Of course telcom giants want people only on wireless, Verizon has been selling off their landline business for years.

I haven't kept up with the laws the last decade but the ILECs - incumbent local exchange carrier - were the equivalent of government mandated monopolies. Telco reform act of '96 forced the ILECs to share the publicly paid for infrastructure with startup phone companies. The Internet exploded with thousands of ISPs popping up. This was rolled back under Bush Jr when Powell's son was running the FCC. I wonder if this means other companies can move into these abandoned areas without the ILEC screaming like crazy?

Re:So who is liable for our $300 billion refund? (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613457)

With carriers having overcharged over 300 billion [newnetworks.com] who is then on the hook if there are no more landline companies? Of course telcom giants want people only on wireless, Verizon has been selling off their landline business for years. ...
I wonder if this means other companies can move into these abandoned areas without the ILEC screaming like crazy?

No, the ILEC's won't scream. And no, no other companies will move in. Once all are converted to wireless, POTS will be forbidden by law ... it 'interferes' with wireless networks somehow, all they need is a line item inserted into a 'farm aid' bill or similar that declares POTS installs of any kind to be dangerous to the wireless businesses ... then they'll say "see, we can't do POTS because it's bad for you, we know it is because there is a law that says so" ...

Re: So who is liable for our $300 billion refund? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613721)

I was there when all that went down! You a correct. It was crazy fast change... W Bush got in, appointed Michael Powell ( Colin Powells son ) to head the FCC, very soon after the BOCs ( Bell Operating Companies ) got clearance for long distance ( was banned before ). Soon after that CLECs ( competive local exchange carriers ) got screwed by the gutting of ( Al Gores Internet invention, haha - I know ) telecommunications act of 1996, this mandated UNE ( unbundled network elements ) be provided to the CLECs. Then after 911 BellSouth CEO Dwaine Ackerman was named Telecommunications ZAR ( of all things ) to head the new NSA anti-terror domestic spy program ( still as the phone company CEO mind you ), we now know what that led to thanks to Snowden... This all happened in less than a year! Thanks George W Bush, your the man!

Boom, bing, bang... The rest is history.

Tons of copper saved .. (1)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 9 months ago | (#46613435)

Storms of electromagnetic radiation created ...

Re:Tons of copper saved .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613465)

Very true. The radio spectrum is getting so crowded these days. Keep the wires!!!

An option? (4, Interesting)

oldhack (1037484) | about 9 months ago | (#46613453)

Municipality should simply take over the existing land line infrastructure.

Re:An option? (3, Insightful)

anubi (640541) | about 9 months ago | (#46613805)

Think twice before you want to assume this mess. Ever seen inside those telco boxes? They are a mess of 50 year old wire, eroded, and crumbling. I have seen them in my neighborhood and wondered how the telco kept them running.

I think they are pricing landline use through the roof to get people to abandon their line, then they re-allocate the remaining working lines to the ones who have not jumped ship yet.

Personally, I think the landline infrastructure I have seen is rotten to the core, and is inevitably sinking, and even I cannot really see them investing much money in order to keep it alive. I think they see this kinda like I see my 40 year old car... its hard to get parts for it ... and everything in that car that is flat wore out. Its an old Toyota. Around 300K miles. Looks like shit and still runs, albeit rattles like a sonofagun and accelerates like an old coot getting off a couch. I have to be prepared to buy another car when anything major goes. I think the telephone companies have already written off the landline infrastructure, and is just milking it along for a few more years until they shut the whole thing off for good, but for now, a few lines still work, and they are pricing them for the last hangers-on like me. ( Yes, I still use a Western Electric 500 series phone - the black one... you know, the one with a carbon microphone ). I did get the touchtone pad though...however the old dial phone in the garage still works. Doesn't ring anymore though - I had to disconnect its ringer because I only had enough ring current coming to me to ring one old phone. I have to hand it to the phone company for always having their stuff work.

Fine, with conditions (5, Interesting)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 9 months ago | (#46613459)

Only a couple of conditions:

1. All government services must be accessible at no cost via a method which is guaranteed to be available to any person. IOW if landline phone service isn't required to be universal then all government offices must have in-person hours and be staffed at a level sufficient to get everyone who shows up on any given day served before the office closes, or all services must be available via mail (postage pre-paid). Online-only services are not allowed, since the government isn't guaranteeing that everyone will receive Internet access. Phone-only services are not allowed since the government isn't guaranteeing everyone will receive cel phone service. Online-only or phone-only would only be allowed if the government mandated that everyone would be able to receive either Internet access or cel-phone service regardless of location. Which the service providers won't go for, since their whole goal is to avoid being legally required to provide service in unprofitable areas.

2. Any person must be able to get basic (local calling and 911 service) phone service at any address, regardless of where that address is, upon request at no more than the previous cost of equivalent landline service. Whether it be via cel or VOIP, the service must be available. Note that this doesn't completely get around requirement #1, since the basic service isn't guaranteed to provide access to government numbers. To the extent that it does, it would satisfy #1.

Re:Fine, with conditions (1)

sjames (1099) | about 9 months ago | (#46613743)

1 can never be adequately satisfied unless the phone company wants to be Oprah and give everyone a car. Even then, it's a bit of a problem to go to the police in person if someone is attempting to break in to your home.

It is the single most reliable piece of tech (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613463)

we use daily. Why throw it away?

Re:It is the single most reliable piece of tech (1, Insightful)

Your.Master (1088569) | about 9 months ago | (#46613495)

Because most of us don't actually use it daily, or weekly, or monthly. I haven't had a landline in over ten years, including both my work and home phone numbers (my workplace uses VoIP).

I would say a first step is that the requirement be loosened such that the so-called POTS should be sufficient, but not necessary, to meet the requirements. The alternatives that could replace the POTS should not require an unreasonable sacrifice compared to keeping the POTS.

If you can come up with a reason that it's unreasonable in your locality, then good on you. I have absolutely no doubt that there remain good uses of the POTS for some scenarios, probably geographically-constrained, but I don't know them.

Re:It is the single most reliable piece of tech (1)

arfonrg (81735) | about 9 months ago | (#46613533)

I have 3 POTS coming to my house to feed my 'vintage' 551 KSU. I guess I win the nerd-off in this thread.

Re:It is the single most reliable piece of tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613557)

emergencies

Re:It is the single most reliable piece of tech (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 9 months ago | (#46613651)

battery powered radios not good enough for you? cause everyone already has one in their pocket

Re:It is the single most reliable piece of tech (1)

QuantumLeaper (607189) | about 9 months ago | (#46613741)

Not when you have to call for an ambulance, I don't think a Radio would work, do you? Also I live in a City and have 2 cell towers about a mile and half away, and I have TO go out side and walk to the corner to anything over one BAR on my cell phone. It been that way for the last decade...

Re:It is the single most reliable piece of tech (3, Informative)

sjames (1099) | about 9 months ago | (#46613749)

I don't know about you, but there's no way my cellphone is staying up for a week without power.

I know the towers don't.

Re:It is the single most reliable piece of tech (1)

blackest_k (761565) | about 9 months ago | (#46613659)

Trouble is your broadband typically relies on pots to work, cable tv providers don't reach everybody even in cabled area's.

I live in an area where there is never going to be cable tv its uneconomic for them to lay cable this far out. DSL via the phone line is also not possible due to distance from the exchange and 3g barely works.
Cell service is adequate for text messaging but making voice calls is tricky you have to be in precisely the right place for you and the person you are talking too to hear each other.

when it rains the 3g service becomes intermittent. Even the satellite tv broadcaster needs a pots connection to use their broadband option.

Re:It is the single most reliable piece of tech (5, Insightful)

arfonrg (81735) | about 9 months ago | (#46613523)

Because it works well (especially in emergencies) but isn't a cash cow.

Re: It is the single most reliable piece of tech (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613615)

The use in emergencies is an important point. In every major emergency cell networks have reached capacity. There was an incident near me when a minor accident caused traffic to come to a halt and the cell network was saturated by people calling to say they'd be late home. Someone ran into the back of the queue at speed and this more serious accident was only reported by people going to a nearby house, knocking on the door and using the land line. POTS should be kept until there is a replacement that has sufficient capacity to cope with major incidents.

Re: It is the single most reliable piece of tech (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 9 months ago | (#46613655)

POTS has a hard limit on the amount of connections it can make as well, ever heard "all circuits are busy"

theres only so many wires and relays in a POTS system

Re: It is the single most reliable piece of tech (4, Informative)

sjames (1099) | about 9 months ago | (#46613763)

It can happen, but emergencies very rarely saturate the POTS network. Nearly every major incident has brought cell service to it's knees.

Re:It is the single most reliable piece of tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613611)

Because capitalism failed.

Re:It is the single most reliable piece of tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613705)

Because the vast majority of us haven't used a POTS line in the past 5 years.

I'm kind of of the opinion that... (4, Interesting)

rusty0101 (565565) | about 9 months ago | (#46613473)

...these supercarriers need to be advised that any service they plan on replacing POTS with, will fall under common carrier regulation, and they will need to get approval from state regulatory boards for price modifications, service level changes, and the like. Under Common Carrier regulation, they will have to open up their service offerings to competitors at the same rates they charge their internal providers, i.e. their Internet Service capability will have to be available to companies like NetZero, at the same rates that they charge their own internal ISP organization.

They will also be obligated to build out their infrastructure to provide universal access to provide coverage to every customer they pull POTS services from. That's not to say that they can't make hybrid service available, where they provide some form of a wireless trunk to an equipment stack outside of town that provides local distribution in the same area that they already do this for with POTS. Essentially they will replace T1 trunk hardware at those remote vaults with a wireless T1 system, and presumably none of the customers would be the wiser.

Note, I don't expect that this is how things will play out, just how I think it should. I'm biased, as I am a customer who's worked in the telecom industry.

careful though - govt set rates at $2 / minute (0)

raymorris (2726007) | about 9 months ago | (#46613711)

I understand where you're coming from. We should be careful, though. Back in the 1970s and 1980s we had tight regulations on long distance service and the government set the rate 40 cents per minute, which is $2 / minute in today's money.

When regulations were greatly reduced and changed to promote competition rather than regulation, prices dropped to 10 cents almost immediately and then even further.

That national experiment always comes to mind when people propose a new a list of government regulations and mandates to add. Sometimes less is more, we should be cautious of mandating too much, because that normally ends mandating stupid. You mentioned "service level changes". When I lived in Denver, it was illegal to reduce the emissions of my car, and reduce it's fuel consumption. Why? Because the area was one the federal government had identified as having too much pollution, so they required the state to inspect cars for "any modification that may affect emissions". A cleaner, more efficient exhaust system would emissions (reduce them), so it was illegal.

That's not an argument against regulations (3, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | about 9 months ago | (#46613757)

That's not an argument against regulations, it's merely an argument against putting horse judges and drinking buddies instead of professionals in charge of drafting, revising and enforcing regulations.

power over phonelines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613483)

Hope you all have backup power supplies in place for when the power goes for more time than your mobile battery lasts.

Re:power over phonelines (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 9 months ago | (#46613501)

Hope you all have backup power supplies in place for when the power goes for more time than your mobile battery lasts.

That used to be my argument for keeping a landline. But you know what? Even with old style phone service, people tend to not keep a corded phone around - they prefer wireless handsets. When the power fails, so do those phones. Even with a landline, the last few times we had a power failure I had to use my cell phone to call it in.

We finally dumped our landline last year. Well, actually, we still have the number - my wife won't let us get rid of it. But now we're only paying ten bucks a month to T-Mobile for it instead of the forty-plus we were giving Century Link every month for way too long.

Re:power over phonelines (1)

the plant doctor (842044) | about 9 months ago | (#46613535)

Mmm, yes, I while had cell phones that I mainly used when I still lived in the States; I also had a landline in my home. Two cordless phones in the house that used. However, I had a cheap corded phone that I just kept in a cabinet in case of an emergency. Like the 7 days we were without power due to an ice storm. Corded phone came out, I was able to keep in contact. Sure, I could charge my cell phone in the car, but I had to leave the car running to do that.

Re:power over phonelines (1)

ledow (319597) | about 9 months ago | (#46613647)

In a prolonged emergency, your phone is not the weakest link. Hell, once of those "emergency chargers" (a plug and a pack of AA batteries, basically) can be put next to your fusebox quite easily.

The problem is the cells. If your mobile phone is powered up by the local cell is flooded / offline / out of power then you're fucked.

I don't think landlines have much life left, to be honest. They are fast being replaced by wireless technology and are getting obsolete. And yes, while I have made phone calls on landlines in powercuts, the same can be said for mobile phones when the landline has also gone off.

The problem you're wishing to solve - long-term powerless - is much more of a problem all around and not one that either technology solves.

But then, generally, after a few days in anything catastrophic, calling from your house is likely to be not as important as you think. You either won't be there any more (and will be relocated somehow), or there'll be some other way of keeping in contact made available to you.

If you're that paranoid, keep a pair of cheap walkie-talkies charged. Worst that happens, you give one to a potential rescuer or use them to call in help yourself.

Re:power over phonelines (1)

sjames (1099) | about 9 months ago | (#46613773)

Most of the people I know keep at least one old corded phone around just in case it's needed.

Re:power over phonelines (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 9 months ago | (#46613665)

my celphone charges in my car, and runs for a week

Re:power over phonelines (1)

sjames (1099) | about 9 months ago | (#46613791)

You'll need really long jumper cables to keep the tower up and running. They like to really skimp on the batteries (if they don't just fail completely).

negative consequences of wireless telephone system (-1, Troll)

Max_W (812974) | about 9 months ago | (#46613497)

- ubiquitous electromagnetic radiation could be harmful for biological organisms - increased radio footprint will make our planet even more visible (vulnerable) in the universe - scrappers will lose an important copper source (of old copper cables)

Bad idea (2)

duke_cheetah2003 (862933) | about 9 months ago | (#46613539)

I think we should probably be keeping that POTS system around, maintained and such. You just never know. We might need it for something!

Defensive considerations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613541)

I know this is the paranoid schitzo part of me talking but with regards to pots if its use is being discontinued thats fine, however Leave the existing equipment where it lies. Removing it costs money, repairing it costs money, but in a pinch it may be discovered that at some point its needed.

Government 99.999% Killed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613545)

Great, our government enforced 5.26 minutes of downtime per year is being killed and in its place, we only have unreliable networks. As a nation we promise to become weaker to threats both domestic and international, as inflation erodes any quality our economy would have offered. Getting rid of a QoS helps to reduce costs due to quality and lets America ride a slope towards incompetence.

Old system (1)

kegon (766647) | about 9 months ago | (#46613553)

what the industry now calls POTS

It's been called POTS for at least 20 years. Sheesh, kids these days

.

Re:Old system (1)

derik mantuzo (3594153) | about 9 months ago | (#46613591)

Old Reliable System

Compromise. (3, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 9 months ago | (#46613593)

I will fight to keep POTS as long as you prevent all unlicensed use of select short-wave radio bands.

Re:Compromise. (1)

atomicthumbs (824207) | about 9 months ago | (#46613899)

wait, what's the connection here? what bands?

Cellular doesn't work (3, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about 9 months ago | (#46613597)

I'm in Silicon Valley, and cellular just doesn't work very well. At least not Sprint's CDMA network.

At home, I have to go to a window to get one or two bars, because the local community association doesn't want a cell tower nearby. I have a Sprint Airave box, which gives me a femtocell which mooches bandwidth from my IP connection. This gets me VoIP quality at cellular prices. If I lose Internet connectivity, I lose cellular connectivity. The Airave box is badly programmed; when it loses IP connectivity it still captures local handsets and insists it's the best path to the network. You have to disconnect its power to reach a cell tower instead.

At TechShop Menlo Park, which is adjacent to a major freeway, I have to get near a window to get coverage. I'm not sure why there's a coverage hole there.

For a long time, there was no Sprint coverage on the Stanford campus, because Stanford had an exclusive deal with AT&T.

I was in San Jose recently, near PayPal HQ, and couldn't get Sprint connectivity until I drove up to a closed Sprint store. They have a femtocell so their demos work, and just outside the store, there was good connectivity.

Even when it works, cellular voice quality sucks. Sprint finally seems to have fixed their delay problem, though. For a while I was getting delays as long as a second, with delayed echoes coming back, like some low-end VoIP system.

The land line works great. Voice quality is very good, because it's only about 150 feet of copper to the big underground AT&T vault (the size of a shipping container, air conditioned, and full of racks of gear) out at the street. But there are no cellular antennas at that location; it's all wires and fiber.

Re:Cellular doesn't work (3, Funny)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 9 months ago | (#46613669)

stop using sprint, DUH

Re:Cellular doesn't work (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 9 months ago | (#46613813)

At TechShop Menlo Park, which is adjacent to a major freeway, I have to get near a window to get coverage. I'm not sure why there's a coverage hole there.

Chances are, it's a steel-frame building. Which is probably the next best thing to a Faraday cage, plus whatever echoes and distortions the interior structure contributes. Then there's the questionable radio transparency of concrete floors and walls at cell frequencies.

It's when you're outside and the coverage is crap that your should be concerned/annoyed.

If interior coverage was that important to the company, I'm sure that they could arrange it.

POT is Constitutionally Protected (1, Insightful)

MarkvW (1037596) | about 9 months ago | (#46613599)

POT is a constitutionally protected privacy interest. The airwaves are not.

Re:POT is Constitutionally Protected (0)

BlazingATrail (3112385) | about 9 months ago | (#46613771)

Constitutionally protected privacy? you are joking right? wires, air waves, your front door or cute laws are not going to stop your government from spying on you.

Re:POT is Constitutionally Protected (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613793)

Considering the Republicans said they want the death penalty for everyone that still uses POTS lines, no. You are incorrect. They want to murder you. You need to hide. The Republicans are horrific people that want to murder hundreds of thousands of Americans, and by admitting you don't recognize the Republican's right to murder you, you are fucked. They will murder you.

bad deal. (1, Insightful)

strstr (539330) | about 9 months ago | (#46613641)

So first there's a privacy risk although POTS can be tapped with a satellite or radar system, so even if it's constitutionally protected they're still tapping it.

The real argument is: POTS is obsolete but fiber is it's successor. They should be requiring the phone companies to install fiber to all homes, providing 10Gbps+ Internet and access to network resources like VoIP and IPTV.

The problem with an all wireless solution is limited capacity and radiation exposure. We've already ramped up emissions by millions upon millions of times, and it's literally causing DNA and brain injuries, preventing curing of cancer, causing species decline and extinction, and other problems. The Schumann resonance which the earth produces and all life is dependent on is literally being over powered by microwaves and other EMF causing all these different phenomena, including conditions like anxiety and schizophrenia.

When you walk around you're walking in a field of EMF smog. The mind cannot turn off, and melatonin production is also dropping because the pineal gland which produces it is activated by EMF of all wavelengths and doesn't get the chance when being flooded with signals 24/7.

Watch this video for one guys story. Who is Elisa Lam? On YouTube. Also covers bioelectromagnetic weapons development and their use by our governments to attack people: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

Re:bad deal. (1, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | about 9 months ago | (#46613667)

"We've already ramped up emissions by millions upon millions of times, and it's literally causing DNA and brain injuries, preventing curing of cancer, causing species decline and extinction, and other problems. The Schumann resonance which the earth produces and all life is dependent on is literally being over powered by microwaves and other EMF causing all these different phenomena, including conditions like anxiety and schizophrenia."

No.

It's not.

Please put your white-coat back on (in either sense - lunatic, or go and actually work in a science lab and prove it to yourself).

Need to teach kids about amplitude (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 9 months ago | (#46613781)

We've already ramped up emissions by millions upon millions of times, and it's literally causing DNA and brain injuries

Very strong signal do that, little one don't. Simple enough?

Re:Need to teach kids about amplitude (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613981)

Also the engery in the photons is important. Microwave energy cannot cause DNA damage regardless of power (although indirect damage from heating is possible of course). The frequency has to be high enough to ionize chemicals.

Re:bad deal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613817)

I would have been totally convinced by the well-researched sanity and rigorous analysis of the problem had you not blown it by using "it's" instead of "its" in paragraph 2.

Re:bad deal. (1)

anubi (640541) | about 9 months ago | (#46613857)

If there is one thing I can say about POTS, it had to be the absolute least secure way possible of conducting a phone call. All the signals were pure clean analog, in the clear, and you could tap in on any of them at a telco connection block with just a headset and listen right in. Remember those phones the linemen would wear on their belts... thats how they found where the line went bad - just clip in and and see if they had a good line. Red and green... tip and ring. They were not even polarity sensitive until the touchtone pads came out. They would put 20 hz on the line to ring it, then put something like 48 volts through a resistor to the line to power up your microphone and dial, and you had a little inductive coupler to pick the signal back off the line to run the earpiece.

The telephone company back in the 60's and 70's had their RIAA-style heyday with a lot of kids using "blue boxes" and the like to make free calls or prank calls through the long distance system. The magazine "2600" originated with this... it turns out one guy, going by the moniker "Captain Crunch" started spreading the word that General Mills just happened to distribute a little plastic whistle in boxes of breakfast cereal for a kid's toy, and this whistle just happened to emit one of the frequencies ( 2600 Hz ) which would divert a call to an 800 number to an outgoing trunk. Hilarity ensued there for a while. When I was a kid, it was all the rage to rip off the phone company for unpaid-for calls... many of which were prank calls to overseas for "bragging rights".

Re:bad deal. (1)

atomicthumbs (824207) | about 9 months ago | (#46613905)

The Schumann resonance which the earth produces and all life is dependent on is literally being over powered by microwaves and other EMF causing all these different phenomena, including conditions like anxiety and schizophrenia.

Can I have some of what you're smoking? Whatever it is it sounds like it's good shit

return of the cb etc... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613751)

when moving backwards & lowering the levels of communication is presented as 'progress' http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=communications+sabotage&sm=3 nothing really new in centuries

Public Domain (1)

mverwijs (815917) | about 9 months ago | (#46613933)

Yes. Drop POTS. Drop it and make it Public Domain. See what happens when you give us a little infra to build on.

Opportunity lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613955)

My feeling on copper land line phone service. Is that its still a very viable service for many. From the traditional phone service, to being a solid communication link for security systems and disaster communications. We already know that wireless fails in comparison in capacity and reliability. I am not surprised that this is happening because people are making choices in what to spend their limited incomes on. Of course wireless trumps land line phones every time. I myself dropped land line service because the costs was far exceeding the value on a day to day basis.
But let's also look at the lost opportunity of the phone companies who could have invested in fiber optics and not only improved on a old technology, but also would have had capacity to provide other services like broadband internet, TV services and possibly other products.
But if the phone companies are unwilling to invest, then we cannot blame this surge in interest in eliminating it all together. I don't think its what we should be doing.

What's stopping those companies now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613961)

It seems to me that if ATT stops being a carrier, then no once can force them to be.
Just sell off all responsibility for maintaining the POTS to some subsidiary and then close down the subsidiary.
Wouldn't that be possible?

No, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46613993)

These guys are the biggest cronies, that is why I avoid both. But unfortunately my only other alternative is a big crony - TWC.

Anyways - there are still many areas not covered/in range of a decent signal. And, call me crazy but I like that fact that POTS have their own power supply.

Replace one utility with another (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46614001)

Everyone is too focused on the telephone aspect of this. If you replaced POTS as a utility with an equivalent broadband utility, everyone could have VOIP, and once it's set up all the computer illiterate wouldn't even have to learn anything new. Cell phones are nice, but they aren't the right replacement for POTS.

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