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Communications

Landline Holders Increasingly Older, More Affluent 616

Posted by kdawson
from the untethered dept.
netbuzz writes "More than a quarter of the under-30 crowd has decided you only need one telephone — and it sure as heck does not plug into a wall. The trend towards an all-mobile lifestyle is accelerating, according to a new survey. Besides younger people, lower-income people are also more likely to have cut the cord. And while businesses may be a bit slower on the cell-only uptake, there appears to be little doubt at this point that the traditional landline will be joining rotary dials and party lines as a relic of the telecommunications industry."
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Landline Holders Increasingly Older, More Affluent

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  • I'm in that category (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:40PM (#19125511)
    "More than a quarter of the under-30 crowd has decided you only need one telephone -- and it sure as heck does not plug into a wall.

    I'm in that category - I own a mobile, but unfortunately, here in Australia, you need to rent a landline from the monopoly PSTN provider (Telstra) if you want to have broadband internet (ADSL anyway).

    So I have a landline I never use.

    God they're filthy (Telstra) - hopefully we'll have a change of Government soon & get rid of the current spineless Prime Minister John Howard - who can't stand up to Telstra.
  • Re:Party lines? (Score:4, Informative)

    by setirw (854029) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:49PM (#19125579) Homepage
    A single telephone line that serves more than one customer. Most often used in rural areas where it's not economical to install multiple lines. Privacy is nonexistent and I'd assume congestion is high.
  • Re:Party lines? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:49PM (#19125585)
    Party lines died out in the 60s, I believe. Back in the day, it was easier for the phone company to run a single pair through an entire block of houses. So if you had a party line, it basically meant that you and your neighbors shared extensions. Everyone had their own telephone number, and the phones would ring differently based on which number was dialed.

    Needless to say this meant that every time you wanted to place a call, you'd risk interrupting your neighbors' conversations. It was cheaper to hook residential phones up this way, but obviously most people preferred to pay a bit more for their own line.
  • by Osty (16825) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:55PM (#19125643)

    So how do you handle extensions? You know, someone calls you, and you want to say, "Honey, pick up an extension." so you can talk together. Do you just 3-way the call?

    Put the phone on speaker.

    And how do you handle guests? Do you simply assume that if they want to make a call, they just use their own cell phone?

    Yes. Or they can use my cell if they must, but I'd rather they use their cell. That's what I do when I'm a guest, so why should I do otherwise for guests of mine?

    Oh, and how do you handle devices that need to "dial home" periodically? (ReplayTV box, DirecTV box, etc.)

    Use the interweb. A long time ago, I had a cable box that required a phone line. That requirement was removed soon after. Similarly, my Tivo needed a landline for its very first setup, but everything after that just works over the internet. If I hadn't had a landline when I setup my Tivo, I'd have just taken it to a friend's house and set it up there first.

  • Re:Party lines? (Score:5, Informative)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:59PM (#19125671)

    A party line is a single telephone line that you share with your neighbors. They were common in rural areas of the U.S. before WWII, probably becuase they were cheaper than dedicated phone lines (remember, back then each line was on a different physical circuit, and calls were switched by human operators).

  • Re:Bandwidth? (Score:2, Informative)

    by azenpunk (1080949) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:10AM (#19125765)
    no.

    that's sort of like saying that if blue light stops shining, won't red light get brighter? (not to be condescending)

    the phone calls and the dsl signal are handled by completely different machinery inside the central offices.

    except for the splitter in the DSLAM that overlays the two signals (at two very different frequency ranges) on the same wire it's all separate. the internet traffic goes through the DSLAM and up/out through a DS3 or OC3, while the plain old phone (POTS) traffic gets directed through the switches where it gets dial tone.

    if this doesn make sense, write the newcastle importer to complain.
  • by Kabal` (111455) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:16AM (#19125813) Homepage
    Unfortunately, here in Australia you *do* need a phone service on your line to get an ADSL connection, because Telstra are idiots.
  • Re:Kind of a concern (Score:3, Informative)

    by Osty (16825) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:18AM (#19125823)

    We thought the same thing until we had two periods this year with no cell service for a minimum of three days each. One was due to storms and flooding, the other was due to wind storms. Because we live a bit outside of our metro area, we were among the last to have cell service restored. We had relatives that had no way of contacting us to see if we were OK. No cell, no cable modem, no dial up because we didn't have a landline. Landlines were still working BTW, this was verified by a few people in town we talked to later on. So now, we pay $16.00/month for a landline, if only for the added security of being able to call 911 if we need to, and to be able to let our family know everything is OK. Landlines still have a place in this world, sometimes it takes an emergency to remember what that is.

    Interesting. We had a huge windstorm this past winter. I was without power for a week, and had friends who were without for nearly two. During that entire time, my cell phone continued to work perfectly. I used my car to keep the battery charged.

    Your experience prompted you to get a landline. Mine has prompted me to buy a generator, though I'm waiting for a few more months when prices will be the lowest (we don't get power outages here in the summer, since it's not hot enough for people to overload circuits with A/C units). If anything, I came out of the experience with a more favorable impression of cell phones, as there's no way I would've been able to keep my old portable phone charged up that long and I couldn't take that out to my car to charge off the engine.

  • Re:Kind of a concern (Score:5, Informative)

    by znu (31198) <znu.public@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:23AM (#19125851)
    You should be able to call 911 on any landline that's physically connected, even if you don't pay for landline service.
  • by spoco2 (322835) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:53AM (#19126073)
    Also, in Australia calls to Mobiles cost the person calling you, so if you have no landline, all those people who want to chat to you for hours on the phone would need to pay huge rates per the minute. Compared to a local untimed call which is, what, 30 cents or so.

    In the US isn't it the case where the receiver pays? It was something like that for txt messages etc when I was over there, thereby making mobile spam horrid as you ended up being charged for receiving spam, whereas here in Aus if they spam you it costs them, not you.

    As such, we can't get rid of our landline really...
  • by dltaylor (7510) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @01:11AM (#19126229)
    Our cell 'phones don't get a good signal at our house (seem to work OK elsewhere, though), but the land line works.

    Long distance is cheaper on the land line, even with the flat rate overhead and fees.

    What do you get charged for a cell 'phone conference call? How much more is that than the cost of picking up an extension on a land line?

    Cell 'phones for emergencies are really, really cheap. Ours are less than $7 USD per month, and we don't even have the prepaid kind.

    If there were two- or multi-line cradles into which I could drop cell 'phones at home, then answer an extension, I would be more inclined to even consider going cell-only, but the system would have to accept 'phones from whichever carrier I choose to use AND the 'phones would have to be portable, too. The lock-ins on cell 'phones are at least as obnoxious as anything the "Bell Gang" have done, besides the fact that you're dealing with a "Bell Gang" subsidiary or affiliate with most cell carriers.
  • Re:Bandwidth? (Score:3, Informative)

    by tjb (226873) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @02:35AM (#19126691)
    Actually, the answer is yes.

    Annex I in the ADSL2 and ADSL2+ standards allows the upstream channel* to start start at tone 1 (4.3125 KHz) instead of tone 6 (25.875 KHz). Obviously, you don't get POTS in this mode - it's meant as an all-digital design for telco VOIP roll-out. It doesn't buy you all that much - 15 bits/tone * 5 tones * 4Khz data symbol rate = 260 Kbits/second. That's the theoretical maximum and most likely its going to much less than that since most existing modems weren't designed with this in mind and likely have very poor amplifier performance (if not built in high-pass filters) near the DC range and I don't think the market for it is big enough to convince anybody to spin a chip for this feature.

    *- and technically the downstream, too, I think, but there are a myriad of issues with doing that revolving around the massive echo rejection you need and dealing with near-end crosstalk at the DSLAM end, so most ADSL designs that are actually deployed are frequency domain duplex (the upstream and downstream use different frequencies).
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @03:33AM (#19126977)
    In the US for voice calls it is billed per time on the air. So both receiver and sender pay, if they are both on mobiles. Basically the way a plan works is you get a certain number of minutes of airtime, generally unlimited at night and during the weekend when the cells are underutilised and a total pool of like 1000 during the week. Any time your phone is in a call, time is deducted from those minutes. Doesn't matter who made it, or what kind of phone is on the other end. Also many companies don't charge airtime for calls that stay on their system. So if you call a person and you are both with the same provider, no minutes are deducted for either party.

    The only time you pay overcharges is if you exceed your airtime allotment, or you place a long distance call to a place that isn't included. Most plans include the entire US, so any call in the US is considered local. However they generally don't include international calls so you pay per minute for the call, same as you do with a landline. International calls to you are no different than any other, you don't pay anything other than airtime.

    The net effect is that so long as you don't exceed your minutes, there tends to be no extra charges over the monthly plan rate.
  • Not much, (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @03:40AM (#19127009)
    Analogue phones are extremely low bandwidth. Like 4kHz. Really, not kidding. It's just analogue audio, and not very high quality at that. To eliminate any interference, DSL upstream starts at 25kHz and goes up to 138kHz, downstream is 138kHz up to 1104kHz. So if you totally eliminated the voice and used its spectrum, and you assumed that you get total efficient use out of it, you get like 18% more upstream.
  • Re:Kind of a concern (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @04:37AM (#19127237)
    Some phone companies disconnect the phone line physically at the office equipment/central office or removing jumpers at the CEV/BBOX etc when service is cancelled. I know we have be doing this for a while - you aren't calling anywhere when that happens. No dial tone is no dial tone. (I work for a large regional telco)
  • Re:Kind of a concern (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tim Browse (9263) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @04:51AM (#19127281)

    Why would they be paying more to call your cellphone? Aren't you paying for incoming calls? That's how most rate plans work.

    No, outside the US, most mobile phones work on a caller-pays basis, just like landlines.

    A lot of people prefer it like this - that way, whoever initiates the service usage pays for it, like most services, as opposed to you being at the mercy of whoever decides to call you a lot (tele-marketers, jerks, but I repeat myself, etc).

    For example, I'm on a pay-as-you-go plan here in the UK - I certainly don't want people using up my credit if I don't want them to.

    I think the US norm of callee-pays originally stemmed from the inability of the billing system/incumbent networks to cope with the other way, due to various limitations (but I could be wrong; it's been a while since I heard that, and my memory may be faulty).

  • by Arterion (941661) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @05:02AM (#19127343)
    Two things:

    1) Sodas use High Fructose Corn Syrup, not sugar. Sugar would be a lot better! Also, diet sodas have a HUGE market.

    2) Caffeine has a number of beneficial effects on the body.
  • by fatmal (920123) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @05:33AM (#19127505)
    I live in Australia, and was living in New Zealand when they privatised Telecom NZ (before the Telstra sale). I would have thought that the Australian Government would have taken some lessons from the Telecom NZ sale, and kept the copper network. If Telstra, and any competitors, were able to get access to the copper network equally, then competition would have provided enormous benefit to the Aussie household.

    In NZ, Telecom (who 'own' the copper network) were saying that it costs them as enormous amount of money to maintain it - when Clear (their major competitor) offered to take this loss making asset off their hands (for a dollar), Telecom refused - I wonder why!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @06:58AM (#19127883)
    That's all it is. Cell phones are a necessity and land lines aren't. It has little to do with the technology. If cell phones were expensive and land lines were cheap, which they aren't, young people would be forced to give them up as well.

    The phone company is actually forcing us to switch over to the more easily maintained cell network because it offers them higher profit margins. That is the REAL driving cause behind the disappearance of land lines.
  • What about the sun? (Score:5, Informative)

    by MollyB (162595) * on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @08:05AM (#19128263) Journal
    I calculate that around 2012, nearly all folks will be using POTS, if this excerpt from Wikipedia is correct:
    "The last solar maximum [wikipedia.org] was in 2001, and on 10 March 2006 NASA researchers announced that the next cycle would be the strongest since the historic maximum in 1958 in which northern lights could be seen as far south as Mexico."

    Aren't we just one or two Coronal Mass Ejections from having all our satellites (and cell service among others) go kerflooey?
  • Re:Kind of a concern (Score:3, Informative)

    by jridley (9305) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @08:06AM (#19128265)
    We have cell phones, but we also keep our land line because we have almost completely useless coverage at our house. We can get a signal but it's barely there, and calls drop out about every 2 minutes, and if someone calls us, half the time they go to voice mail because our phones happen to not be connected right that moment.
    If they ever fix the coverage out at our house, we'll think about dropping the land line, but as it is, it's the only 99%+ reliable communications we have, and phone service is considered a life-critical application.
  • Re:Security Systems (Score:2, Informative)

    by dmnic (452122) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @08:30AM (#19128443)
    I have a home security system through ADT/Honeywell called Firstline that doesnt require a landline.
    it hass a cellular transmitter up in my attic.
  • Re:Kind of a concern (Score:3, Informative)

    by draos (672972) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @08:47AM (#19128589)
    Verizon will sell you ADSL without a land line in my market (Buffalo, NY) and as far as I know they'll do that anywhere in the country. Probably other providers will too. I've been without a landline for several years.
  • Re:Kind of a concern (Score:3, Informative)

    by spitzak (4019) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @09:56AM (#19129281) Homepage
    If you switch to DSL only service on Verizon (which I did because it cut $40 off the phone bill) you don't get 911. This despite the fact that the line is still connected, and the terms of service say "you don't get 911 except in Vermont" which I assumme means it is quite techinically possible but only Vermont has forced them to. You can call 911 on a "disconnected" phone with no service however.

    Really crappy that they can get away with this. Fortunatly there is a disconnected phone line going into the house so I might hook that up so 911 calls are possible.
  • by hab136 (30884) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @11:10AM (#19130631) Journal

    Aren't we just one or two Coronal Mass Ejections from having all our satellites (and cell service among others) go kerflooey?

    Satellites are screwed, but the atmosphere blocks most radiation before it can reach cell phone towers. Anything strong enough to screw them up would also probably fry us.

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