In a 32-page filing with the FCC last week, AT&T asked that the requirement that it support a landline network be repealed. It’s an aggressive bid to get rid of the cumbersome wall jack and move entirely to VoIP.
An all-IP phone network may be inevitable someday, but AT&T is clearly hoping for that day to be as soon as possible. Landlines are less efficient and more expensive to maintain for the carrier, and don’t add much consumer benefit either. Unfortunately, AT&T’s filing doesn’t account for the 20 per cent of Americans who currently use only landline connections, and there’s no way the FCC is going to leave one in five taxpayers twisting in the wind. The migration seems to be happening naturally anyway: according to GigaOM, total interstate and intrastate switched access minutes have fallen 42 per ent from 2000 to 2008.