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The Phone is Dead! - Long Live The Phone!

14th February 2011

“Do you use your landline as much as you did?”

Can you imagine not having a ‘land-line?’, your ‘home phone?’, your ‘fixed-line?’ Could you get by without it? Do you may-be use it less anyway? Is the land-line, fixed, home phone concept dead? May-be it’s not dead just dying? Take the example of public phone boxes. Quote:

“BT plots end of the line for phone boxes” –http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2005/feb/28/sciencenews.technology


That was a piece from 2005! When was the last time you had need of a phone box anyway? Is the same happening with our home phones and what will this mean?

I don’t think it will mean very much. The figures for all-round technology use in the UK has rocketed! OFCOM quote:

“UK consumers are spending almost half (45 per cent) of their waking hours watching TV, using their mobiles and other communications devices, new Ofcom research reveals today.” –http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/2010/08/tv-phones-and-internet-take-up-almost-half-our-waking-hours/

Blame the ‘Smart Phone’ – It’s said the number of people using their phone to access the web between May 2009 and May 2010, leapt 81% from 7.2 million users to 12.8 million. It’s not totally the ‘Smart Phones’ fault. Social networking websites now account for nearly a quarter of all time spent on the Internet in the UK. Facebook is the prime mover here, up 31% since last year. A lot of this usage is now done from ‘Smart Phones’!

What other purpose could a ‘land-line’ serve anyway – apart from connecting our computers to the net? Households these days have their computers all broadband connected and so can use the many other means of communications the net has to offer – such as SkypeOut, Email, MSN or Blogging. With my smart phone I have Wi-Fi access all around my house and so could ‘Skype Out’, MSN Facebook Chat, Google Chat etc etc. With Skype on my computer (other VOIP services are available) I can see the person I am talking to. With my ordinary mobile phone I can send a text message. With Emails I can send items such as photos, documents or web-links. For a casual chat, there are loads of platforms I could use – MSN Google Chat, Facebook, Twitter etc etc.

Then of course there is the good old-fashion mobile phone. I don’t mean ‘Smart-Phones’, computers with phones built in – I mean a simple mobile phone which you can talk on (or may-be send a text messsage on). Mobile phone companies now offer call packages If you run an ordinary phone – I pay Vodaphone £10 per 30 days and get more call minutes and more texts than I ever use! Why do we need a land-line?

I think we need a land-line because it’s a bit like loosing a leg or an arm. We could get by with only one arm or leg, but it wouldn’t be easy. Have we got good broadband speeds where we live to use all these new technologies on our computers? Have we got a mobile phone signal in our lounge? Have we got that mythical ‘3G signal’ at our place? (I live in rural East Devon and don’t believe ‘3G’ exists!). Do we even use a computer and do we even care what ‘Skype’ is! “I like a good chat”; people say, “I don’t want to have to turn my computer on to talk to my daughter!”. The lineland is nearly always there and doesn’t involve any modern technolgy.

The landline is more simple and doesn’t rely on several geo-stationary satellites whizzing over my head in space. It’s just me, a cup of tea and a biscuit and a chat! We aren’t there yet. But be in no doubt, home phone use is on the decline – not dead, but dying. Are you using yours?