The End of Powered Telephones

I have long argued that the legacy telephone network was on its last leg.  It no longer serves any real purpose.  It is expensive both for end users and for the telephone companies.  The quality of phone calls, in my personal experience, has been inconsistent and only on par with VoIP.  I have heard many people make the argument that they are willing to pay the much higher fees for legacy, powered, copper based telephones because they provide the extra reliability of having their own power so that they continue to work even when the power goes out.  A valid argument, I guess.  This assumes that the power continues to be available for the phone which is often, but not always, the case when there is a power outage.  And it also assumes that you are willing to pay those high fees instead of getting a nice Uninterruptible Power Supply for your VoIP which is just a one time cost of less than $100.  A nice UPS could last through several days of having no power – long enough that you would want to have a generator anyway.

In this day and age when a huge percentage of the population uses only cell phones or VoIP phones or some combination thereof for their normal phone usage there is little argument for needing expensive legacy phones anymore.  However, the option will soon be gone as Verizon (and presumably other last mile common carriers shortly) has begun to dismantle its last mile copper network as it rolls out it fibre based FIOS service.  This is an obvious move as fibre has far less restrictions on it, delivers more services to the end users and saves money both in maintenance and in power consumption.  Fibre is far better for the overall economy and the environment as it consumes vastly less electricity to support – as long as shared infrastructure regulations keep common carriers with access to the fibre infrastructure from monopolizing the market.

The Internet is taking over.  The Public Shared Telephone Network (PSTN) is over.  For many of us, it is a distant milepost in the rearview mirror.  For some it is just an inevitable shift as the old copper system becomes too expensive to support.  But one way or another, legacy telephones are done.  The faster we move on the sooner we can deal with other challenges.

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