on April 13th, 2013

Dear Colleagues

Copper landlines sometimes referred to as POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service), seem to be reaching the end. The only reason for keeping them has often been for the alarm or emergency calls. However, even this need is being addressed with mobile connections. The main driver for the change to mobile connections is inevitably reducing costs – sometimes up to half the cost. Very few people today (mainly the elderly) only have fixed line phones.

In any event landlines aren’t always reliable
As we all know, landlines can go down due to high winds, landslides or a severe storm. Most mobile phones happily continue for a few days with their batteries (although admittedly my kids report to me that intensive usage of their smartphones seems to clean out their power very quickly). The mobile phone operators have also made their masts considerably more robust to ride out even the most severe storm (including that of a cyclone recently).

Of course, many younger users, have never ever had fixed lines – always content to use mobile phones. Fixed line costs are probably going to skyrocket as users decline.

Many small businesses (and indeed large corporations) couldn’t survive without their employees using mobile phones. Think of your plumber or electrician where the mobile phone is a key part of their business.

Alarm and Emergency Calls go Mobile
Now one can even replace your alarm or emergency calls with an internet connection – through a mobile phone connection or possibly a cable connection.

As far as the rapid march of communications technology is concerned:
Things are only impossible until they're not. (from Jean-Luc Picard, 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' )

Thanks to the Economist for an interesting article on the topic: Telecommunications: Nearing the End of the Line.

Yours in engineering learning

Steve


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