The next few years will bring sweeping changes to analog landline phone service as telecommunications favor fiber optics and internet-based systems.
The traditional landline service, which has been around since the late 1800s, will start to phase out as fiber optics technology, invented in the 1960s, becomes more widespread for telecommunications.
Fiber optics will replace copper wire
This will be a massive undertaking as hundreds of miles of copper wire currently used to transmit phone signals is replaced by fiber optics systems that are much more technologically advanced and efficient.
Another blow to landlines was the arrival of ‘Voice over Internet Protocol” (VoIP) systems in the 1990s, which gained more traction throughout the 2000s by offering digital communications over the internet, along with the ability to be integrated with additional digital services, such as cable television and other streaming services.
FCC approves order to end landlines
The phone service providers are leading the way to the move away from landlines and are backed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which approved an order in 2022 allowing telecom companies to limit or end landline service to their customers.
Some states, such as California, are underway with plans to “stop servicing traditional landlines and discontinue copper landline phone service.”
Landlines provide familiarity for senior citizens
The transition from analog to digital phone services could be of great concern to senior citizens, who are probably the biggest users of landlines nowadays because of their familiarity and trustworthiness with this traditional technology. And there are some alarm systems that still depend on analog landlines for communications with monitoring services and law enforcement agencies.
Landlines shine when power is out
But with all the high-tech capabilities that fiber optics and VoIP systems will provide, such as high-speed internet, wireless networks, streaming services, and enhanced telecommunications, the one benefit that landlines have is the fact that some analog phones still work when the power goes out.
As we march forward into a digital future for telecommunications, long-lived landlines for decades of traditional dialing.
Remember landline phones with Wilson Pickett's soulful "634-5789" hit song