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Voice/Data Guru
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The future folks ...Until a EMP goes off :zwall: Been in the industry since 94 and us "old timers if you will" have many a reservation on this "all" wireless business.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324439804578104820999974556.html?mod=googlenews_wsj


AT&T Inc. T -1.30% is laying the groundwork to phase out its old-fashioned telephone service.

The telecom company said Wednesday it wants to eventually decommission the technology behind its decades-old, copper-line phone network that currently covers 76 million homes and businesses in 22 states.Randall Stephenson, AT&T's CEO, said the carrier would try to repeal landline regulations on the state level.

Instead, the carrier said it would spend $14 billion over three years to extend its Internet-based broadband service to 75% of its landline service area, and to provide high-speed wireless service to virtually all of it.

The three-year plan will extend high-speed Internet to 8.5 million more homes and businesses but could eventually leave a quarter of the customers in AT&T's landline footprint, or 19 million homes and businesses, without any landline service from AT&T.

Most of those customers will have access to wireless high-speed Internet and phone service, which AT&T said would reach 99% of its landline footprint by the end of 2014.

Selling those services could be more lucrative to AT&T, which said its revenue will grow faster thanks to the investments.

Wall Street had a lukewarm reaction to AT&T's announcement, with some analysts voicing concern about the cost of the plan. Analysts had already included much of the $14 billion that AT&T plans to spend in their projections.

Analysts said the plan would boost AT&T's annual capital spending by about $2 billion to $3 billion, to $22 billion.

AT&T's stock fell 3.3% to $33.64 on Wednesday amid broader market declines.

A possible wrinkle in AT&T's plan is regulation that requires phone companies to provide landline service wherever the carriers own telephone wires.

AT&T and other phone companies, including Verizon Communications Inc., VZ -1.34% have pushed states in recent years to repeal those regulations, arguing they are outdated in an era when people have a host of alternative ways to communicate, such as cellphones and service from cable-TV providers.

On Wednesday AT&T stepped up that battle with a petition filed with the Federal Communications Commission that urged the agency to oversee tests of how traditional landline infrastructure can be replaced with newer technologies, such as Internet-based landline service and high-speed wireless networks.

At a conference with investors Wednesday, AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson said the company would also look to continue to change regulations on the state level.

The carrier said its plan isn't contingent on any regulatory changes. But Mr. Stephenson said the states that are more flexible on changing regulations could end up first in line for additional investment from AT&T.

Verizon declined to comment.

"We are going to have to see 21st-century regulation for 21st-century investments like this," Mr. Stephenson said. "I think what you're going to see is that these investments will go first to those states where you have good line of sight to good regulatory authority to do some of the things we're talking about here."

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said the commission would review AT&T's filing and that the additional investment was proof of a healthy telecommunications market.

Consumer group Public Knowledge noted AT&T's investment was proof that the government's refusal last year to approve AT&T's $39 billion acquisition of No. 4 wireless carrier T-Mobile USA had helped preserve competition.

At the time, AT&T said it needed to buy T-Mobile's airwaves to make it feasible to cover virtually all Americans with a high-speed wireless network known as 4G LTE.

On Wednesday, AT&T said it would do that anyway, using a slice of the airwaves the FCC recently approved for wireless use.

AT&T's plan seemed sure to add fuel to a long-simmering debate over how telecommunications regulation should evolve in an era of smartphones and high-speed Internet.

Phone companies such as AT&T argue that multiple telecommunications options now available to consumers mean that they should no longer be regulated as utilities.

Consumer advocates, on the other hand, say that a digital divide is deepening as the well-off people get faster and faster Internet access while the poor and people in rural areas get left behind.

"The plus side here is that AT&T's announcement pushes us to really think about what the right rules are," said Harold Feld, legal director at Public Knowledge. "The downside is we're in danger of being the first industrialized nation to ever go backwards on basic phone penetration."

AT&T and other carriers have said it doesn't make economic sense to continue serving rural areas with old-fashioned landlines when wireless networks can offer faster Internet connections more efficiently.

But consumer advocates say it still isn't clear that wireless networks are as reliable as landlines.

Hurricane Sandy last week underscored those questions, wiping out cellphone service in some areas where the power went out even as traditional landlines stayed up.

AT&T Chief Strategy Officer John Stankey said they had considered selling all or part of the company's 22-state wireline business, a legacy of Ma Bell that was cobbled together over a decade of acquisitions after the breakup of the AT&T monopoly.

But Mr. Stankey said that the company had determined that investing in the operations instead was a better option for several reasons, including the regulatory hurdles that would be involved in a sale.
 

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As one of those rural consumers I don't even have a phone line on my property. Use only cell phones and have a WIFI ISP (broadband).

Now yes if ATT would bring DSL to my house (3miles from nearest point) I'd get it.
 

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Its a good idea, however I kind of like having a backup where a landline phone works in a disaster...
 

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Voice/Data Guru
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Discussion Starter #4
Its a good idea, however... I kind of like having a backup where a landline phone works in a disaster
Exactly ;) I have a land line here to do remote work, Just in case the internet goes down .
 

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Koolbreeze
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Yea the land line stuff is becoming maintenance only deal.
I've been laid off twice from land line copper based work. First job with it was putting in cabinets that took a fiber signal and turned it into something that could be sent to houses on existing copper.
The other was road work based maintenance. reroutes and such. That whole copper system is built on after thought upon after thought over the course of several decades. It is a mess!

...seems there's work to do in the wireless realm tho.... back to it
 

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50 years of Mercury Cougar 1967/2017
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AT&T does it for pure profit.
Those deAl. Will never happen.
 

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I think its time to say goodbye to copper. Most people have at least an Obamaphone to use to get in touch with people.

I haven't had an AT&T line in my house for over a decade. When a billing issue couldn't be resolved, I dropped them quick. I started with Vonage and was with them for many years. Vonage works pretty good and is easy to setup. Its not the cheapest thing though.

My old home phone number is now ported to a Boost Mobile android device with unlimited minutes. When I am at home, it hooks via Bluetooth to a Panasonic remote wireless handset system (http://shop.panasonic.com/learn/link-to-cell/). It actually sounds just like a landline and the call quality is as good or better than Vonage.

The only problem is when my Wife goes somewhere, the phone service goes with her. In those cases, I use MagicJack installed on my server computer. Its pretty basic, but I do get dial tone and can make calls. For $30 a year, it does the job as a backup.
 
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