along with the wirecenters/etc should be transferred to local cities and townships, to use for emergency communications. (Eg 911).
Every line should automatically have a number, every line should able to dial 911. Cost of maintenance should be covered by a SMALL tax, similar in amount to the "e911" charge already in use, per home.
In fact, this is what should have been done with payphones, too. But its too late for that I guess.