FCC voting on rules for abandonment of copper phone landlines

in internet on (#J38J)
On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to require that phone companies warn residential customers three months before they abandon a landline/copper network. The rules would prohibit companies from retiring a copper network through neglect. Phone and cable companies would also have to warn customers with newer technologies that the phone will go out with the power, so people can get replacement alarms and backup batteries if necessary.

Many people already scoff at the idea of a landline. About 45 percent of U.S. households just use cellphones. But outside of cities, cell service can be poor. Even among households with wired phone service, about half of them have already ditched copper-based landlines for an Internet-based phone service. Estimates say that about 80 million people as well as several million small businesses still rely on traditional copper-based phone service, but the march away from copper appears inevitable.

But a home phone that relies on the Internet will go out when the power does. With copper networks, the phone line delivers its own power source and will continue to work. In addition, many home burglar alarms and medical alert systems require the copper network, so people need time to get replacements. The agency would also require that phone and cable companies sell customers backup batteries with eight hours of power. After three years, batteries would have to last 24 hours.

This coincides with the $10.54 billion sale of all of Verizon’s landline (copper & FIOS) service areas in California, Florida and Texas, to Frontier Communications. The deal which will affect millions of customers, is expected to be completed in 2016. The cash being used to fund investments in Verizon's far more profitable wireless/cellular services business.

Solar panel recommended (Score: 2, Informative)

by evilviper@pipedot.org on 2015-08-21 20:53 (#J3DA)

For anybody without a landline, a cheap solar panel is a good investment.

You can use it to charge your cell phone (with any 12V car charger), or to charge your FIOS/U-Verse/cable-modem battery (requires in-line diode). And even without a ($40!) battery, you can use the panel for power directly, but only during daylight hours. It's equally useful to charge flashlight and radio batteries...

You just have to be careful about duty cycle with solar. In winter, with just 8 hours of low-angle sunlight, possibly over-cast weather, you might only get a very small amount of power from it. So be sure to always significantly over-spec.
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