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Tipping Point? Quarter Of All Homes Have Totally Abandoned Landlines

from the watch-the-trends dept

The TV industry has been totally downplaying the idea that people would ever "cut the cord" when it comes to TV. While it may be true that it's a very small minority of users today, it would seem that those in the TV industry might want to look over to their friends in the telco industry. They used to scoff at the idea of cord cutters as well... and now 25% of all households have dumped their landlines entirely. And, among younger folks, it's getting increasingly difficult to find a landline at all. Things change. What was unthinkable not so long ago can become reality pretty quickly.


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  1.  
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    Tetsubo (profile), May 13th, 2010 @ 2:46pm

    I cut my phone landline around two years ago. The only people that called me were telemarketers, surveys, politicians and my Father. My Father could learn to use my cell number. It saves my wife and I around $500 a year.

    I still have a cable TV line though. Because it saves me money. I have a cable modem. I called and told the cable company I wanted to cancel my cable TV contract. I just couldn't afford it any longer. They told me that my cable modem would run me $59.95 per month alone. But if I kept my basic cable line it would be a total of $58.95 a month for both. So I get around 14 channels and save myself a $1 a month. I mostly watch the news.

     

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  2.  
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    Esahc (profile), May 13th, 2010 @ 2:50pm

    Yup

    I've been without a land line phone and cable since I moved out of my parents house around 10 years ago, they're useless expenses.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2010 @ 2:52pm

    what percentage of them happen to use that same landline for dsl internet service?

     

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  4.  
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    qhartman (profile), May 13th, 2010 @ 2:57pm

    My wife and I have been cellphone only for 13 years. A few years after making that switch I remember the extra hoops we had to go through when opening a bank account because the bank wouldn't accept a cell phone as a contact number. Actually had logic in their account setup program that flagged cell numbers and refused to let them through. Ended up having to get a manager involved, put in a bogus phone number to setup the account and then immediately change it to the right number because the other software didn't have that test in it. Crazy...

    Anyway!

    As I approach the possibility of becoming a Daddy, I've been wondering about how that will work if/when little Johnnie/Janie's friends want to get a hold of them. Do current cell-only parents always act as proxies, or...? I can see the value in having a number that would reach anyone in the house. Seems like a good use for something like GrandCentral, or Whatever google is calling it now.

     

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  5.  
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    vbt (profile), May 13th, 2010 @ 2:57pm

    I left landline's behind 10-yrs ago. My dorm room in college had a connection but we didn't have a phone for it. I recently moved into an area w/ fios and it was much cheaper to have a landline and get the "triple play" then purchase internet and television separately. So I'm in the same boat as Tetsubo in having service I don't really need. I don't even know the phone number for the line; my google voice number rings there and my cell. I pick up whichever is closer.

    Information service providers will continue to lock services together to boost numbers even though some subscribers would much rather just have a good internet connection.

     

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  6.  
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    Charles H. (profile), May 13th, 2010 @ 2:58pm

    too cheap...

    My wife and I would have cut the cord long ago but for the fact that she works for the cable company here and so we get everything (TV, internet and phone) dirt cheap. Even so, we would get rid of the phone if it were not for being able to make outgoing long-distance calls for free. I don't think I've actually given that number to anyone in well over a year.

     

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  7.  
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    Jeff (profile), May 13th, 2010 @ 3:00pm

    There ought to be a LAW!

    I can see the future now:
    "Protect the helpless telcos! By not having a landline you are in violation of the LAW!!1! "

    How long before the DMCA/ACTA is subverted to protect this vanishing business model as well???

    Contact your friendly lobbyist for instructions!
    Kidding aside - I haven't had a landline for almost 5 years and couldn't be happier.

     

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  8.  
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    a-dub (profile), May 13th, 2010 @ 3:05pm

    Just bought a five year old house. It was wired with Cat-5, but the dmarc was never installed, so the previous owner didnt have a land line either. I just replaced the telephone wall plates with cat-5 plates, terminated the other ends and plugged them into a switch.

     

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  9.  
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    ElijahBlue (profile), May 13th, 2010 @ 3:06pm

    The only reason I still have a landline is because I get a fantastic deal with my DSL, $22 a month, from an independent provider. This requires me to keep a dialtone with AT&T (formerly Pac Hell, formerly GTE) that costs about $15 a month with all the stupid taxes included.

    You have to stand firm and refuse the sales pitch for enhanced products, but it is possible to have only a dialtone, meaning you have local calls and nothing else is available. There's no long distance and no intra-lata, I think they call it, meaning phone calls made outside of the local free calling area.

    This keeps the kids from accidentally calling a friend, thinking the call is local, until the phone bill comes (AT&T charges an outrageous 25 cents a MINUTE for these landline calls, basically from one city to the next. When I found out how much the calls cost (before anyone made a call), I asked the AT&T customer service rep 'How is it possible that your company can charge that much, when I have a $10 throwaway prepaid cell phone from Virgin Mobile, kept as a backup for emergencies, and that costs only .10 cents a minute?' She didn't have an answer.

    Other people I know keep dialtone-only service for their security alarms and satellite TV service, which requires a dumb landline phone connection to make daily updates to the set-top box. A friend of mine just moved into a new house and she didn't bother giving anyone her new phone number, because her mobile phone is the way people have always called her.

    It's funny the way we're all using this new technology, but we kept her cat and dog for two weeks while she was moving. Having photos of their pets text-messaged to them every day made the move less stressful on her family. This was the grand technology the old Bells were promising us for decades. (Remember the AT&T commercials with Tom Selleck, promising 'One day you will.') The old broads never delivered on any of those promises, but the mobile phone companies sure did. The landline phone stayed dumb, while the mobile phones just kept getting smarter, faster and easier to use. The landline providers have made themselves irrelevant by not innovating, changing and offering reasonable prices for their services.

     

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  10.  
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    yourrealname (profile), May 13th, 2010 @ 3:06pm

    Re:

    You do realize that you could actually buy your own cable modem right? Then you wouldn't pay 2/3 the price of one every month.

     

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  11.  
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    DocMenach (profile), May 13th, 2010 @ 3:13pm

    Another would-be cord cutter

    Same story for me as with quite a few other people. I have a land-line, but the only reason I do is because standalone internet service would be more expensive than the bundle. If there were real broadband competition (as opposed to the pseudo competition in my area with the only choices being the phone company or the cable company) then I probably would have cut the landline long ago.

     

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  12.  
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    Alan Gerow (profile), May 13th, 2010 @ 3:16pm

    Haven't had a landline in 7 years. Usually people want to talk to me or my fiancé, not our house, so they call one of our cell phones.

    Though Google Voice and VoIP solutions provide more than enough options should a need ever arise where we need a general purpose number or line.

    The shocker is my finance's father and my mother are both looking at ditching their landlines for cell & VoIP solutions, which says to me the trend is just starting to break out of the younger demographics and hit mainstream. The percentage of people without landlines will only grow faster.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2010 @ 3:17pm

    Cells are typically more expensive than landlines. Couples have 2 instead of 1, some families have them for their kids at age 8 on. Somehow I don't think the communications industry is missing out on revenue.

    If work didn't pay for my smart-phone, I wouldn't own a phone, period. I hate phones. Someone wants me they can find me.

     

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  14.  
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    Rick, May 13th, 2010 @ 3:18pm

    Suggestion

    My parents did not want to give up their land line, because thats the number they've had for decades. They both have cellphones tho, so I suggested they 'add a line' to their plan for $10 (about $16 with taxes/fees).

    So, now instead of the $32/month they paid for their land line, they have a cell phone plugged into the wall in the kitchen for half the price. It's handy for grandkids visiting, emergencies or they take it with them on vacation.

    Another option is http://phonenumberbank.com/ where they'll forward your old number for you for $10/month - saving the taxes/fees.

     

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  15.  
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    ervserver (profile), May 13th, 2010 @ 3:26pm

    cut it already

    I cut cable and landline years ago and don't miss either one.
    Long distance rates make a landline a joke, cable rates keep going up while most of the channels you get are junk

     

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  16.  
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    Colin, May 13th, 2010 @ 3:27pm

    That's fine for city dwellers but cell phone service generally sucks where I am.

    Also, a land line is considerably more reliable in case of an emergency (power outage, planes crashing into buildings etc)

    And yes, I do have a smart phone that I use hen I travel but it seldom gets coverage at home.

     

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  17.  
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    Designerfx (profile), May 13th, 2010 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Re:

    what are you talking about?

    The cost of the cable modem is like $9 a month if you don't buy your own. Meanwhile, you can't even get docsis 3 on a consumer cable modem for quite a while. About all you have now is the motorola.

    Meanwhile, same deal here. It was cheaper to have basic cable than go without, sadly. It's screwed up. Comcast doesn't want cutters. I'd have done it by now if they didn't manage to charge more when you don't bundle.

     

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  18.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), May 13th, 2010 @ 3:36pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Psh. Like getting docsis 3 on a cable modem matters. My ISP doesn't even supply me with 5mb; let alone 100mb or more. docsis 3 only matters for HIGH SPEED. We have none of that here in the US.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2010 @ 3:42pm

    I have a bit of a strange prediction. At some point a land line will change around and be considered a luxury good that everyone has to have when they want a super quality connection from the comfort of their homes. I know I would like to have one because I remember how great it is from my childhood (have never had a land line as an adult)

     

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  20.  
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    interval, May 13th, 2010 @ 4:00pm

    Re:

    "Cells are typically more expensive than landlines."

    Yes. They're more convenient. There's a price for that.

     

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  21.  
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    interval, May 13th, 2010 @ 4:09pm

    Re:

    "Also, a land line is considerably more reliable in case of an emergency (power outage, planes crashing into buildings etc)"

    Yeah, you're right. All those phone calls from the various 9/11 victims must have been made on land-lines. They must have been allowed access to the plane's phone booth before the hijackers crashed 'em into the towers.

     

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  22.  
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    Wesha (profile), May 13th, 2010 @ 4:45pm

    Re:

    Two words: Naked DSL.

     

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  23.  
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    bob, May 13th, 2010 @ 4:48pm

    I don't do POTS

    Got cable and Vonage, when POTS went from $18 a month per line to $30 a line and I saw that contractors for the local cable company were hanging fiber lines through my back yard, I got rid of Sat TV, Internet and POTS.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2010 @ 5:14pm

    I actually like my landline. It costs about $30 a month as part of a bundle with DSL gets unlimited local and long distance and has much better voice quality than my cell.

    Maybe I'll get rid of it when cell phones stop sounding like a tin can, don't cost a crazy amount for unlimited minutes, and don't need charging every day.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2010 @ 5:24pm

    Got my land line back again

    I got rid of my land line, but had to go back. The AT&T mobile service in my area is so poor, I just cant trust it for use in business.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2010 @ 5:27pm

    Re: Re:

    it is still a landline, minus the phone. naked dsl still means you are tied to the wire.

     

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  27.  
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    another mike (profile), May 13th, 2010 @ 5:30pm

    they cut the hard line, neo!

    Never even bothered to connect the phone line to the inside wiring. When I moved into this apartment, I had already dropped landline for cell-only. Since it's a new building with structured wiring, I replaced the phone wall plates with ethernet wall plates and a gigabit switch. That connects to the firewall router which connects to the cable modem. I have cable internet without TV service. If FiOS were available here I'd probably have that instead.
    Between Google Voice, Skype, Twitter, World of Warcraft, etc., I don't use any of my 400 monthly cell phone minutes. And with Netflix, Hulu, and BitTorrent, I watch more TV now than when I actually owned a TV.
    This is the future of communications right here. We're stuck trying to muddle through while being saddled with extraneous services like TV channel lineups and cell phone minutes. The sooner these old monoliths get knocked over the better.

     

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  28.  
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    Nastybutler77 (profile), May 13th, 2010 @ 5:31pm

    Re:

    Try VOIP.

     

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  29.  
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    chris (profile), May 13th, 2010 @ 5:48pm

    Re:

    As I approach the possibility of becoming a Daddy, I've been wondering about how that will work if/when little Johnnie/Janie's friends want to get a hold of them. Do current cell-only parents always act as proxies, or...?

    i did this for like a week and got fed up real fast. i got a cheap VOIP service (500 min/month for something like $12 or so) and had everyone use that number. it was great for stupid things you need an extra phone for, like finding a lost cellphone when you are alone in the house.

    it was a life saver when there was a family emergency and we were making making and we were on the phone way more than normal. my wife noticed we were close to going over our minutes so we used the ip phone and it worked out well.

     

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  30.  
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    chris (profile), May 13th, 2010 @ 5:50pm

    Re: There ought to be a LAW!

    I can see the future now:
    "Protect the helpless telcos! By not having a landline you are in violation of the LAW!!1! "

    How long before the DMCA/ACTA is subverted to protect this vanishing business model as well???


    people without landlines are phone pirates.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
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    Sell Fone, May 13th, 2010 @ 6:06pm

    Whoa ... this sounds like a sales pitch for a cell phone carrier. Endless contract with a huge ETF which gets renewed automatically. Nice

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2010 @ 6:30pm

    Re:

    Should have just ripped the cat-5s out and replaced them with cat-6s while you were at it.

     

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  33.  
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    NAMELESS.ONE, May 13th, 2010 @ 6:39pm

    in canada the opposite is occuring

    you get one landline and cause of the usage based billing and caps 75 people have to share a gb

     

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  34.  
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    NAMELESS.ONE, May 13th, 2010 @ 6:42pm

    @1

    you have cable and pay money
    more then my net costs
    much more almost double or triple
    and i get all my tv free
    have for years think of the money ive saved
    and ya know what
    i burned saved and secured it all in triplicate so i cna forever enjoy it

    i havent had a phone now for almost a year and ya know what i save money
    i have no ctract
    no early termination
    wow what a revolution want to talk to me get your ass over here and knock on a door

     

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  35.  
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    Rekrul, May 13th, 2010 @ 8:47pm

    Which cell phone network/plan can give me unlimited, nationwide calling for less than $50 a month?

     

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  36.  
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    Wolfy, May 14th, 2010 @ 3:35am

    Re: Cable modem

    Dude,
    You can buy a cable mode, for about $30 in the U.S.

     

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  37.  
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    tuna, May 14th, 2010 @ 5:18am

    Re: poor coverage

    try a femtocell if your provider supports them.

     

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  38.  
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    maclizard (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 5:55am

    Not always dumping

    This was touched on in the article, sort of, but I will clarify: 25% of households have not dropped landlines, the culmination of those dropping landlines and those choosing never to adopt a landline is 25%

     

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  39.  
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    jilocasin, May 14th, 2010 @ 6:25am

    I guess I'm a luditte....

    I guess I still don't see the point of a cell phone.

    Too expensive, too limiting, too fragile. I'll use one occasionally when I travel now that pay phones are hard to find and prepaid cards don't reliably give you the number of minutes they advertise on the card.

    When I can get a cell phone that you can drop/get damp without ruining it, that doesn't cost hundreds of dollars, and gives you unlimited minutes for everyone in the house for

     

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  40.  
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    jilocasin, May 14th, 2010 @ 6:26am

    I guess I'm a luditte.... (continued)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
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    DS, May 14th, 2010 @ 6:27am

    Re: Re: Re:

    And stuck with crappy connection rates....

     

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  42.  
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    jilocasin, May 14th, 2010 @ 6:29am

    I guess I'm a luditte.... (continued again)

    [Ugg... keeps self submitting this morning]

    I guess I still don't see the point of a cell phone.

    Too expensive, too limiting, too fragile. I'll use one occasionally when I travel now that pay phones are hard to find and prepaid cards don't reliably give you the number of minutes they advertise on the card.

    When I can get a cell phone that you can drop/get damp without ruining it, that doesn't cost hundreds of dollars, and gives you unlimited minutes for everyone in the house for less than (putting an actual less than symbol in the comment truncates the post apparently) 50 dollars a month the let me know.

    Until then it's good old fashioned POTS for me.

     

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  43.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 7:24am

    Think of the children ... save the baby bells ...

    "They used to scoff at the idea of cord cutters as well... and now 25% of all households have dumped their landlines entirely. And, among younger folks, it's getting increasingly difficult to find a landline at all. Things change. What was unthinkable not so long ago can become reality pretty quickly."

    They are off in theor numbers. The current numbers are.

    26.5% of households had no land lines and are cell phone only.
    of the remainder
    32% have land lines that are used for less than 10 out going calls a month.
    27% have land lines that are used less than 5 outgoing calls a month.
    24% have landlines that are not used (less than 2 calls a month mainly used to locate the cell phone).

    So we have approximately 30% of people who have cut the cord, but not gotten rid of the land line for various reason. Feeling of security, Emergency, not wanting to transfer the phone number to a cell, familiarity, old age, etc.

    If you look at the historical charts for the last 10 years. Cell vs landline based on age its really informative. It is a leading indicator that is being mirrored by the people cutting the cable on TV. Based on the charts the cable cutters are currently ~3 years behind those who cut the phoneline.

    Rebelious young people dont they know that this is felony inteference with a business model!!!

     

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  44.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 7:29am

    Re: Think of the children ... save the baby bells ...

    I didnt notice this before, they got the data from one of my sources ...

    Wireless Substitution : Early Release of Estimates From the
    National Health Interview Survey, July–December 2009

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
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    nasch (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 8:24am

    Re: I guess I'm a luditte.... (continued again)

    I guess I still don't see the point of a cell phone.

    Too expensive, too limiting, too fragile. I'll use one occasionally when I travel now that pay phones are hard to find and prepaid cards don't reliably give you the number of minutes they advertise on the card.


    Obviously you see the point, you just said it: you can take it with and be sure to have a phone (too limiting? compared to what?). I think what you mean is that you don't see sufficient value to justify the price. Which I would say depends on how much you use the phone. If not much, you can get a cell phone for 100 bucks a year. If you use it a lot, you'll be cheaper with POTS.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    longtimelurker, May 14th, 2010 @ 8:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's a bummer, but not 100% true. Using Cox, I'm currently getting 30mb down, and I expect that to rise once DOCSIS 3.0 is rolled out. While I do have other issues with them, I have to say, outside of fiber I've seen the highest bandwidth through Cox than I've heard from anyone else in the US in particular. Hell, DSL from AT&T in this area maxes out at 6megs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 9:05am

    Re: Think of the children ... save the baby bells ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Michael Whitetail, May 15th, 2010 @ 2:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I get about 35Mb down, and regularly get more when 'spare' bandwidth is availible in my area (Brighthouse Networks, Orlando FL) I've been getting a solid 3-4 MBps in STEAM downloads and have negligable lag in most xbox live games.

    Looking at my bill, the only equipment charges I have are for my TV STB's, the internet is a flat charge, no modem fees, no taxes.

    I know that you can have your own modem on thier network, a buddy of mine does that, but his bill is the same as mine.

    I guess the company your are with makes all the difference...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
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    Michael Turk (profile), May 17th, 2010 @ 2:37pm

    You understand the difference between phone and TV, right?

    [T]hose in the TV industry might want to look over to their friends in the telco industry. They used to scoff at the idea of cord cutters as well... and now 25% of all households have dumped their landlines entirely.

    The trend in phones has always been toward smaller and more powerful. The trend in television has always been toward larger.

    Yes, there will come a day when all TV is delivered is over broadband (wired or wireless), but the idea that we'll all be happy to take it on our 2 inch cell phones or 8 inch iPads is ridiculous.

    We'll still want the 72 inch TV in the living room that our neighbors can see glowing through our very thin walls. As long as the market for high-value content on that device remains, there will always be a) protected content and b) a video industry. That will be the case regardless of delivery.

    And just as AT&T and Verizon have moved toward wireless, but are still the biggest names in voice, I would suspect you'll be seeing Comcast for quite a while.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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