September 26, 2013, 3:27 PM — Copper phone lines will be disappearing sooner rather than later, if AT&T has anything to do with it.
The network operator has urged the Federal Communications Commission to get on the stick about reviewing its 10-month-old proposal to ditch traditional phone lines for Long-Term Evolution (LTE)-based broadband wireless links.
Because LTE is an IP-based network, it's seen as the wireless counterpart to the public wired Internet.
Today, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson reportedly called upon the FCC to hasten its testing and review of the carrier's bid to retire its PSTN and move to all-wireless networks for consumers, which would do away with traditional public phone lines. The carrier also wants to move its networks from what it call expensive data centers to a more efficient cloud-based design. Computerworld reports Stephenson as saying, at a Goldman Sachs conference today, that "there's no guidance on how to move the industry from an old, archaic technology to a modern technology."
Moving away from wired networks is understandably controversial. On the one hand, how many networks types and versions can any one carrier be expected to support simultaneously for prolonged periods of time? On the other, how do you feel about wired phone service in the U.S. entirely disappearing? Wireless is great. But is it good enough when it becomes your only option?