AT&T petitions FCC to abandon landline phone connections

In a world where 1 out of every 5 US homes have shunned landline phones in favor of a wireless-only lifestyle, it’s clear that wireline phone service is dying a slow death. Every year, more and more Americans are opting to use their mobile phones as their only means of communications. AT&T apparently wants to hasten the death of the wireline telecom infrastructure that, for decades, was its core business. In a 32-page comment about their thoughts on an all-IP telephone network, AT&T asked the FCC to abolish regulations that require the telecom giant to support and maintain landline infrastructure. Taking things a step further, AT&T asks the FCC to set a deadline for completely phasing out wireline services.

While the increasing proportion of wireless-only homes might seem a compelling argument to abandon landline networks, there’s a flip side to the story. Something like 1 in 5 Americans still depend on the dial-tone box connected to the telephone jack in their home. Unfortunately, AT&T’s argument to adopt VoIP-only phone service throughout the US doesn’t make any provisions for Americans still tethered to a corded phone.

A short-term phase-out of wireline infrastructure might not be in the cards for AT&T, but you can’t blame them for trying. Landline infrastructure is significantly more expensive to maintain and has been generating less and less revenue over the years. The total number of landline phone calls dropped 42% between 2000 and 2008, leading to revenue declines of 27% from 2000 to 2007. And with their wireless infrastructure improvement costs soaring into the tens of billions of dollars, it makes sense that AT&T wants to move away from landlines.

Now, it’s up to the FCC to determine how to setup the nation’s transition to a VoIP-based telephone network. This should get interesting.

[Via: GigaOm]

  • FaStRmAn

    I work for at&t. They are all about the bottom line. They want to drop
    all costs that dont make money. Copper has been a loser since the
    divestature in 1980 splitting ATT up into little bells. HUGH Mistake
    now that we look back because it became a free for all and nobody
    won. Now Europe and Asia are far beyond our antiquated services. Look
    for at&t to abandon the copper asap

  • Beachbaby

    I work for at&t on Ethernet fiber and fiber over copper. This has been coming for sometime. We all believe they are out to get rid of union workers and sub-contract especially here in California. They don’t like the labor laws, taxes and strength of union contract. They have been shuffling people around and causing stress on the workers and their families hoping they will take the payout and erb so they can whittle them out and get cheaper and unqualified workers in all the states we are.If they get their way the ones that will suffer will be of course, us the workers and more so the customers who have already felt the reprocussions of the unknowledgeble, sometimes outsourced representatives ..We will lose our customers more and more. But this is exactly what was expected when at&t took control. They don’t appreciate the hard and devoted workers anywhere across this USA. It is their way of doing business. I hope they lose their jobs..Cut from the top if you want to be greedy..Get rid of the big bucks and let the TRUE WORKING, TRUE AMERICANS keep theirs.

  • Spicey

    The goal of any Union is profit sharing. For many many years it was and still is the very hard work of union represented employees who provided share holders with lucrative dividends. Many syndicated talk show host attack labor unions for being the evil that caused the deterioration of corporate success. Many also accuse unions of depriving corporations of their right to run the business as they see fit. First, unions do not and never have controlled the finances of any corporation. Second, corporations have the right to bargain or not to bargain with labor unions. Especially in this day and time when labor unions only represent approximately 16% of the workforce in the U.S. Corporations bargain with labor unions only because the overall quality they receive from the represented workforce brings them profits. As talk show host like to point out corporations should have the right to conduct business as they see fit unimpeded by labor. Labor unions are a business. Just like corporations they too have the right to conduct business unimpeded and obtain profits for their investors. I too am an AT&T employee and a stock holder. I recognize the inevitable shift in technology towards a wireless platform. I also realize as a payroll liability that all of us on the POTS end of the spectrum are a dying breed. But as an investor I see first hand the underhanded and deceitful practices AT&T engages in when dealing with their customer base. It shows, their stocks are falling and their customer service ratings have tanked. Arrogantly, the leadership believes consumers have no option and will continue to purchase product. AT&T recorded a 12.9 billion dollar profit in 2008. 2009 is expected to be higher. However during current bargaining AT&T leadership whined how tough the economy has been. Here is the true bottom line. The Bell system had tremendous profit when it’s represented workforce was treated well for the jobs they did. The “company” took pride in its workforce. Given the current market AT&T like many others have destroyed their workforces to impress Wallstreet and garner greater stock values. As the proud union workforces are swept away, poorly trained, unprofessional contract workforces are delivery poor services to its customers. Subsequently the money corporations saved from dumping their union workforces is now costing them in market share and subscribers. Employees no longer have incentive to be proud and work hard and subsequently do as little as possible as poorly as possible to try to survive horrid work conditions. Why should they care, they are no longer assets. Just an expendable liability. The free market economy that talk show host taut and loss of so called freedom in this country being destroyed by the liberal leadership of this country is a pile of dun. It is the poor long term strategies of these corporate leaders that is pushing working class America into the government funded welfare and employment programs. Because the more of these payroll liabilities they eliminate, the greater their enhanced stock options are. What do they care as long as their profits are up at the bell. In closing, I believe it was Anthony Bourdain who said if you want to know how good a restuarant is, look in the bathroom first. You should see AT&T’s! It is disgusting! By the way…..I am a “conservative” union steward.

  • Tam

    I think it is stupid to get rid of landlines. I want to go back to a landline, I’m sick of the bad service that I get from the internet phone service.
    911 services across the US are not ready to go wireless. Most communities have not had their 911 serivce updated and there are delays in getting help with internet phone service and from cell phones.

  • Daniel Quinn

    I have been a service tech for 8 yrs. I repair an average of four lines a day. Eighty lines per month. For many of the customers I service, the land line is their only form of communication. Myself and 14 others in the Chico/Orville area of Butte county in Northern California have been declared surplus. This adds up to about 1,200 phone lines per month that will be delayed getting back in service. This is March and just one month go I was working tickets that were 2 weeks old! Some of these customers are elderly folks with Life Line boxes ready to call for help,out of service. Where is the PUC? Common sense tells you, if you want to sell your house, you should make it look as attractive as possible. Who in their right mind is going to buy At&Ts plant if they let it deteriorate.

Back to top ▴