Cutting the cord : America loses its landlines

Much has been made of the precipitous decline of America’s newspapers. According to one much-cited calculation, the country’s last printed newspaper will land on a doorstep sometime in the first quarter of 2043. That is a positively healthy outlook, however, compared with another staple of American life: the home telephone. Telecoms operators are seeing customers abandon landlines at a rate of 700,000 per month. Some analysts now estimate that 25% of households in America rely entirely on mobile phones (or cellphones, as Americans call them) — a share that could double within the next three years. If the decline of the landline continues at its current rate, the last cord will be cut sometime in 2025.The impact of this trend will be greater than most people realise. It will make life increasingly difficult for telecoms firms, naturally. But it will also hurt all business that require landlines, as bills rise and business models are disrupted. No less seriously, the withering fixed-line network threatens the work of the emergency services, such as the police and fire brigade.To read this report in The Economist in full, see:
www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?story_id=14214847

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