The Family Phone: Mix of Landline And Wireless Is the Norm

Five words or less (NewsUSA) - The traditional landline, a phone system distributed via a network of copper wire, exists 130 years after it was first introduced. While cell phone usage is almost ubiquitous (The Wireless Association claims there are 326 million wireless devices in use today, a number akin to 102 percent of the U.S. population), a market for the traditional home phone line remains. According to major telecom companies, there are no plans to change technologies for the majority of their copper customers. While the use of landlines has dropped precipitously -- by the end of the year, an estimated only one in four individuals will use a traditional landline, and nearly 40 percent of people view their cell phone as their sole communications device -- these services are still offered to customers who seek them. Traditional landlines, telecom companies insist, remain an option for consumers as telephone companies try and find the best fit for them. Infrastructure upgrades to improve mobile coverage and enhance Internet and television service are expanding options for homeowners. For example, Verizon has capitalized on its expansive wireless networks to introduce wireless home phones with a product called Voice Link. This option, advocates claim, can enhance home phone service, increase customer choice and alleviate disruptions in areas where existing landline infrastructure may be chronically faulty. Wireless home phone customers receive hardware that allows them to tap into an existing mobile network for traditional home phone use. In short, it receives the same dial tone and basic service through a new source at a similar price. And Verizon is not the only company to offer a service like this. AT&T just announced a competing product that supplies voice service. Even the AARP and Walmart have jumped into the mix, offering products that offer voice service only. Telecommunication executives insist that wireless home phone service is not a replacement for traditional land lines. Rather, for customers who have experienced continued problems with their traditional copper-fed service, it could be a welcome alternative. Cable companies, fiber optic providers and even voice over Internet providers are vying for landline customers, offering traditional home phone services to television and internet subscribers at competitive prices. Today, customers have many telecom choices at their fingertips. Note to editors:This is a regional story targetting the Northeast states-specifically New York and New Jersey.