How many people still have landlines? How many readers have actually used a rotary phone? Remember when you had to lease your phone from The Phone Company?

Telecom giants AT&T and Verizon Communications are lobbying states, one by one, to hang up the plain, old telephone system, what the industry now calls POTS–the copper-wired landline phone system whose reliability and reach made the U.S. a communications powerhouse for more than 100 years.

Last week, Michigan joined more than 30 other states that have passed or are considering laws that restrict state-government oversight and eliminate “carrier of last resort” mandates, effectively ending the universal-service guarantee that gives every U.S. resident access to local-exchange wireline telephone service, the POTS. (There are no federal regulations guaranteeing Internet access.)

The two providers want to lay the crumbling POTS to rest and replace it with Internet Protocol-based systems that use the same wired and wireless broadband networks that bring Web access, cable programming and, yes, even your telephone service, into your homes.



  1. McCullough says:

    NOOOOO! I use my land line to conduct business. I cannot stand the latency I get with most cell phone calls, not to mention the quality. Cell phones just plain suck, when trying to conduct business.

    Plus, Not everyone lives near a freakin cell tower. What about all the people in those areas?

    • Greg Allen says:

      The rural people I know constantly demand that “government get off their backs.”

      Cutting their subsidized land lines seems like one way to give them their wish.

  2. LibertyLover says:

    I use my land line phone number for those pesky businesses that won’t take no for an answer when they ask me for a phone number.

  3. MikeN says:

    This could put pay phones back to work.

    • Greg Allen says:

      What I really miss is the booth.

      We need sound-proof booths for loudmouth cell phone users to step into.

      • Jimmy Olsen says:

        You think you miss the booth? You and Superman both!

        • Greg Allen says:

          I forgot about Superman! Where does he change now?

          Not that changing in a phone booth ever made a bit of sense. Every booth I’ve seen was see-through!

          • Glenn E. says:

            In the 1978 Superman movie, Clark Kent changed in a revolving door, of some building (a hotel, I think). He spun it so fast, it was a blur. There’s even less room to do anything, inside one fourth of a revolving doorway. Than most phone booths. The next time he changed, in that movie, he did so in mid-air, after slipping out a widow of the Daily Planet. Sort of vaporizing his street clothing. So we can only assume that Superman keeps a stash of street clothes, around Metropolis, and in various other cities throughout the world.

  4. spsffan says:

    Agree…NOOOOOO!

    I agree with everything McCullough says. And I will add that I’ve yet to find any cell phone that reliably gets a signal in my bedroom. Living room okay, but bedroom seems to be a dead spot for all carriers, though Verizon works so so…enough to answer and then walk out to the front of the house to actually have a conversation.

    Also, as we have been reminded a bit lately, this is earthquake country. One of the things that we are reminded of by safety training (at work I’m a floor warden) is that the cell system gets overloaded after an earthquake and shuts down! Landlines continue to operate (though you may have trouble getting through).

    Cell phones have their uses. It WOULD be nice if they ever made them with the voice clarity of POTS lines, but I guess that has gone the way of real keyboards and car keys that work without batteries.

    • spsffan says:

      Sorry to reply to myself, but while I’m at it, my landline never dies because the battery is dead.

      Cell phones?

  5. Enemy_of_the_State says:

    I have the ugliest Western Electric rotary dial phone setting right here on my desk.

    It has not lost dial tone since 1956.

  6. Thadco says:

    I have four POTS lines used for both home & business and I hope I never lose them. Cell phones suck for countless reasons. The ONLY things cellular phone service is better at is allowing you to be mobile. That’s it. Everything else about cellular is inferior to POTS. Just name something cellular is better at with respect to good old voice calls…

  7. Greg Allen says:

    At work we use phones that plug into the LAN rather than a phone line.

    I gotta say… there is no discernable difference.

    So, if that is the future of phones… fine with me.

    But cell phones only? Yuck.

    • Chad says:

      The internal interface may be voip, but there is the possibility that where the VOIP system interfaces to the outside world is POTS.

    • LibertyLover says:

      Most of the time when I’m talking to someone on VOIP, there is a delay anywhere from 0 seconds to 10 seconds. It makes conversations nearly impossible when both parties think the other one is being rude and interrupting in mid-sentence.

      I have finally figured out around it, though. If I suspect a delay, I alert the guy on the other end and start counting. I tell him to say something as soon as he hears me say “one.” If I don’t hear him say Now as soon as I say one, I recommend we say OVER when we are done with a sentence.

      It is as annoying as it gets but it works.

      VOIP sucks.

      • Greg Allen says:

        Seriously– my work must have a thousand IP phones and there is absolutely no discernable difference.

        No kidding… I used the phone for a couple of months before I noticed that it was plugged into the LAN and not the phone line.

        No difference. None at all. Nada.

        Best… less dialing! In our city, we have to dial the stupid area code for every call, even local. All 10 digits.

        On our IP phones, we have a 5-digit intercom number for co-workers, no matter where they are. Presumably, even overseas. That is very nice.

        Half as many digits may not sound like much but it really makes a difference when you are constantly dialing it!

      • McCullough says:

        I have also thought about asking people who call my land line from a cell phone to use the old VHF custom of over and out. And I routinely use military style phonetic spelling when giving out addresses, etc.

        The quality is that bad sometimes.

      • Cephus says:

        Agreed. I have a friend who moved to a Skype phone, he has a physical home phone that he plugs into the LAN and the call quality, without exception, sucks. He breaks up so badly that you can’t even understand him sometimes. It might be cheap but you apparently get what you pay for.

  8. Uncle Patso says:

    Yes, I remember dial phones. Heck, when I was a kid our little local southern Indiana phone company didn’t even get a dial system until the mid ’60s — we would pick up the phone and the operator would say “Number please.” The phone number of the Arrow Cafe was 7. Ours was 254. An uncle who lived 4 or 5 blocks away could only get a party line for years.

    During the giant ice storm of a few years ago, my wife and I lived in the Louisville area. There were entire neighborhoods, tens of thousands of people without power for more than a month. Just try to keep anything charged that long! Local library branches brought out every power strip they could find, beg, borrow and steal and set up charging stations for people. I’ve never seen so many phones and laptops in one place before or since. But if the phone lines were not physically knocked down by falling tree branches, POTS continued to work. I have more faith in the ability of a phone company to keep their Central Office backup batteries charged than that of the “ignore the customer at all costs” cable companies to keep their little neighborhood boxes operating in a power outage. Plus, POTS doesn’t depend on a cable/DSL modem plugged into your wall.

    POTS may be old technology, but that’s not always a bad thing. It has been improved and refined for over a century and is very robust and fault-tolerant and works in almost any kind of weather and in any room of the house and any neighborhood that has been wired into the network in the last 100 years.

    The phone companies just want to get out from under regulations that have accumulated over the last 100 years and abandon customers who aren’t profitable enough.

    • Greg Allen says:

      Why is POTS so reliable?

      My mom lives on an island where the power goes out frequently. But, never the phone line.

      Why is that?

      • Chad says:

        The Telco sends power over the copper lines, and does not use electricity from inside the home. My telco Central offices will have backup systems to prevent interruption in service.

        • Greg Allen says:

          But, both power and phone are _wires_, often on the same poles, right?

          Why does the power go out so often, when the phone doesn’t?

          I’ve wondered if the it’s because the phone wires are so much lighter and thinner — and less succeptible to falling down in the wind or heavy snow.

          • ± says:

            The phone lines are the low fat bundles on the poles. The power is the thin lines at the top of the pole. They usually carry 30,000 volts with lots of amps. If you see three next to each other at the top of the pole, your area has 3 phase. The 30,000 volts gets stepped down to 120 by the cylindrical transformers before going to your house.

            [no vapid comment here]

    • LibertyLover says:

      When I got out of the Navy in late ’87, my parents’ phone co still used only four digits. If you wanted to dial outside the local community, you had to use long distance rules.

      This was like that until the mid-90s.

  9. t0llyb0ng says:

    The 1958 vintage rotary-dial phone in my garage is hard-wired into the wall.

    I’ve been a city kid & am now an old fart in a small Kansas town.  It’s Tornado Alley but I’m more worried about a lightening strike setting the roof on fire.

    We have fiber to the doorstep, installed via roadside trenches in 2004.  Phone, cable TV & internet through the same fatpipe.  “Municipal broadband” FTW.  It has a small uninterruptible power supply on the inside wall of my bedroom that will keep the phones going for a day or two.  Garage phone will never need such assistance.  If the power goes off, my internet connection will instantly die along with the cordless phones because I’ve been too lazy to get my wireless router its own UPS.

    Those who think POTS is obsolete have no conception of what the term “remote rural area” means.

    • Greg Allen says:

      I know what remote means… I get out into remote areas all the time.

      It is a long-term infrastructure issue but I think rural people can have a good digital connection.

      But, of course, those same rural people are hell-bent against any and every major infrastructure project if it costs them a dime of new taxes.

      The main hinderance of progress is the backwards mindset of rural people, not the technology, IMHO.

      • LibertyLover says:

        But, of course, those same rural people are hell-bent against any and every major infrastructure project if it costs them a dime of new taxes.

        Their call. If they don’t want it, who are we to force it on them?

        • ± says:

          As of this writing, any person who doesn’t want infrastructure is no longer allowed to use an interstate highway, listen to FM or AM radio or any radio for that matter, use any phone anywhere, etc. EVER AGAIN.

          • LibertyLover says:

            So because they’re not doing what you want, you’re going to bully them? You meanie.

  10. BubbaMustafa says:

    keep it!

    but more often then not, it cost more then cell

    • Greg Allen says:

      I am just about ready to ditch the land line. I think I will when I move, next.

      I still will want a full-sized traditional phone. I am just paranoid enough about high frequency RF that I don’t like talking for extended periods on the cell phone.

      I’ll probably get some VOIP box for a tradition wired phone.

  11. Greg Allen says:

    Here is what I want — an old “red phone” like they used to have between the Whitehouse and the Kremlin during the Cold War.

    Well… a little different. 80% of my personal telephones calls are to the same 5 or 10 people.

    I want an IP phone that only goes to a “whitelist” of family and friends and is completely closed to telemarketers or ANYONE else. (including the NSA!)

    Then, when that phone rings, I know to pick it up.

  12. IM75 says:

    I might give up my POTS line if I can ever get a signal here in my house. I have to step outside to make a call. That’s the pits when it’s raining or snowing out. Oh, did I mention that I live in a city? I do.
    Anyway, the obvious answer to the question posed by this article is NO!

  13. sargasso_c says:

    IP phones work just like regular ones, they plug into the wall and work in a power cut. When switched with modern exchange hardware they are fault tolerant, self healing in a downed line, noise immune and free up a ton of bandwidth to rural subscribers.

  14. pfkad says:

    I’m surprised nobody linked to this:

    http://tinyurl.com/kc956go

  15. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist and junior culture critic says:

    Nice read.

    Sounds like there are Pros and Cons to every position considered.

    My VOIP is indistinguishable from my POTS, except it is turned off when I don’t pay Comcast.

    I wonder how much pollution/mercury poisoning etc is caused by cell phone batteries piling up? Course, without cell phone batteries ((no mercury if Lithium based???—even worse?????)) there would be no Tesla motors? ………. etc………everything connected to everything else.

    I can see cyborg implants to the hive running off bio electricity source. Remember to CARB up.

  16. OvenMaster says:

    Not only do I have a landline for voice and DSL service, but there’s a rotary phone in my living room that still works just fine.

  17. Benjamin says:

    What about those people who got their three strikes and can’t be on the Internet? Are they forever cut off from communicating with out going in person. You can’t buy a cell phone anymore that doesn’t have internet.

  18. Peppeddu says:

    Landlines are guaranteed to be always on because they carry their own power.
    You can use an analog phone even then the power goes out, and in every central office they have a huge array of batteries to keep the system running when the power goes out.

    I am not sure if every cell phone tower carry it’s own UPS, but I suspect the answer is NO, therefore if the power goes out you’re back in the 1900s

  19. Uncle Patso says:

    Thadco says, in part:

    “Just name something cellular is better at with respect to good old voice calls…”

    Number storage — someone calls while you’re asleep? Find “Recent Calls” and call them back. (I agree with everything else you said.)

    Benjamin says, in part:

    “You can’t buy a cell phone anymore that doesn’t have internet.”

    Yes you can — TracFone!

  20. Glenn E. says:

    I think the whole idea of guaranteeing that everyone had access to a phone service. Was so we could call the Police or fire department. And more recently, the EMTs. Then made the landlines work with 911, so people in need of emergency assistance, could be quickly located. I don’t see how Cell phones, will be about to work with 911 dispatching, so effectively. If one’s call has to go through the cell towers. The fiber optic enabled phones, must be using the Internet, rather than the hard wired exchanges. And that still works in emergencies. But it must have a local battery backup to keep the phone working. Because no power comes over the Fiber. And the battery cell fails every few years. So it needs replacing. Even then, there’s no guarantee that the system won’t fail. My neighborhood had a power failure last year, and even the fiber optic line was dead. Maybe I needed to push the emergency power button, on the box. I was never told, that it wasn’t switched on, automatically. Seems stupid that it wouldn’t be.

  21. Glenn E. says:

    About 97% of the phone calls I get over my POTS, is from telemarketers. Maybe once a week or less, I hear from a close relative. Or I call them. I email, more often than I call. So they can read and answer back, when they have the time. But I can’t rely on the fire department, or the Police, to get my email, when I need help. And as the article says, 911 can’t locate you over a cell phone. So that’s basically why I keep it. In spite of the nuisance calls.

    If we were all forced to go cellular. I’m certain that the nuisance calls would just be transferred over to that network. No way are the Telecoms going to give up their profits from selling those “anonymous” or real, Caller IDs. They’re just keeping the cell phone network Telemarketer free, for now. To make switching over to it, much more attractive. As soon as there is no more choice. Expect the flood gate of nuisance calls to open onto the cell phone network. If you want privacy again, you’ll have to pay for it.

    • CrankyGeeksFan says:

      Presently, cell phone numbers aren’t supposed to be called by telemarketers. Land line telephone numbers need to be placed on the Do Not Call Registry. That should eliminate all telemarketers except charities with possibly a few other exceptions.

      Keep the Do Not Call Registry regardless of a wireless mandate for telephone numbers.

  22. Al G. Bell says:

    No one mentions voice quality. Cellular connections are often indecipherable, compared to POTS. The only reason we tolerate voice quality that 1930’s Bell engineers would cringe at, is the portability of the cell phone. VoLTE may improve that, but will be a long time becoming ubiquitous. If ever; and many calls sound crappy because the RF connection is tenuous and error-ridden, stretching the amazing data and codec algorithms to the limit. If you know how it works, it’s amazing the cellular system works as well as it does. It’s hardly a replacement for hardline. Verizon paid me to switch to VOIP over FiOS and quality is very good, but I knew I was losing some legal protections – why else would Verizon pay me? I alway call over land line, VOIP or not, at work or play, whenever I can because of the distortion of cell calls.

    • CrankyGeeksFan says:

      Verizon wants to phase out its POTS local loop networks that badly.

      I know one person who just wanted Verizon FiOS for TV. Verizon installed the fiber optic line, but disconnected his copper twisted -pair wires at his house. This forced him to use FiOS for internet and voice as well as video.

      This person works at an independent DSL ISP. Without a doubt, Verizon wants to eliminate these ISPs from competition.

  23. Anon says:

    I can never count on a cell phone. The call quality is so poor (and I have some sort of odd effect with wireless signals up close) that I am often doing well to decipher half of what is said. I hardly use the telephone, though, so I cannot justify the cost of anything more than the prepaid “dumbphone” cell with minimal minutes on it that I keep around. How I would like an old basic landline instead–with a call blocker device attached for all those telemarketers that I remember from childhood days–if the price was competitive. I could actually hear the other person the first or second time they said something!

  24. Itty Bitty says:

    Yes, I have a rotary phone. And yes, I still have a “land line” too. Though my land line is now via a new technology called VoIP (for only $30 a YEAR). I call it my “land line” since the wiring in my home is still the same and allows me to still use my ancient phone equipment — such as my rotary phone! However, my VoIP service does require Internet access. And despite all the tax breaks, trillions of profits that were earmarked for upgrades (which so far haven’t happened) and a deregulation that gives even more breaks to a very few monopolistic Internet service providers (ISP’s), my Internet is still delivered via a copper wire – coax! The very same wire that was once used to exclusively receive HBO!!!

    It may interest you to know that I used to work as a phone technician back in the day when there were heavily regulated uses for our public phone wires (tip and ring – which is still quite “twisted”). I frequently dealt with things like party lines, COCOT (customer owned coin operated telephone) lines and was always seemingly terminating bundles of wires or splicing them together. My job was also to install and repair end user equipment like rotary/push-button phones, payphones, phone lines, termination points and even dealt with some basic KSU systems. Though I never really got to deal with any of the central office (CO) switching equipment and things like crossbar — which is the fundamental technology behind rotary “signaling”.

    Yes. I know what a rotary phone is. But what I still don’t know is what it meant to ask a real human operator to be connected to “Transylvania 6-5000” on a phone that had nothing but a microphone and receiver. I bet that’s something of an even bigger mystery to the majority of people who are still ALIVE! And yet, when we see someone like Humphrey Bogart (or James Coburn) say it in an old movie we know it’s the same phone system. But what we seem to forget is that it’s still the SAME WIRES that have also never really been upgraded!!!

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist and junior culture critic says:

      Yep, the wires still work.

      I read once that with the as near as you can get equivalent of phone service today WITHOUT automatic switching, EVERYONE IN THE WORLD could be employed as a telephone (manual switching) operator.

      Society made a choice to do away with all those decent, moral, quality jobs. Now we blame the workers for not getting a job.

      Talk about your twisted wires.

      • Itty Bitty says:

        Clearly you don’t remember what “cross talk” is. So I won’t try to explain every possible interference scenario. Just know that a lot of inductance problems like cross talk could be solved if the wires were simply changed out to BETTER wires.

        Smaller gauge (bigger physically), better shielding and more twists per inch are just some of the things that make wire “better” for things like analog phone connections — as well as for certain digital signals too. In fact, these very qualities of shielding, twists and gauge are what distinguishes category 3 from category 5 and category 6. But try to use any of it for an antenna or as a replacement to your car battery wires and you just might have a problem. Point is, use the right wire for the right application and use better wire for better performance.

        But even the best wire is no match for fiber optic when it comes to communications. And the phone companies could easily reign once again as a monopoly, possibly putting every cable company out of business, if they just did what they promised to do way back when — improve infrastructure!

        However, I don’t expect it to happen any time soon, if at all. Because watching the cable and phone companies fight it out is a bit like watching a couple of retarded cows eat (which also kind of describes the average subscriber when you think about it.)

        • CrankyGeeksFan says:

          My fifty year old house has 3-wire telephone inside wiring. As I understand it, this was installed so that homes on the same party line would have different rings. A particular combination of wires in one house would allow only that home to ring .

    • Itty Bitty says:

      … And as far as decommissioning “POTS” goes. It seems like a bad idea when you consider the TAX DOLLARS that have already been spent.

      FYI: It took DECADES OF TAX MONEY that every citizen had to double up on that your local phone companies didn’t have to pay. (Hint to the dummies: check out what a PUC is.) The reasoning was – and still is – that the phone companies would save on taxes so that they could instead provide more service to more people — eventually for more money. Sound familiar?!!!

      All anyone really needs to do is nationalize the telephone infrastructure (again) or do it in some way that would not involve big business. Requiring that any such trustee never trade company stock may be something to seriously consider — very much like how the USPS is run (who would be a near perfect fit too). Then all anyone would need to to is change the copper wire over to fiber or even just get better copper. But take away POTS and it will forever hand over control to the remaining competition, CABLE and CELL! And do we really want to do that? Do we really want the ONLY ISP’s and phone providers to be cable or cell?! I say, no!

      Now, think about where the bloody hell Google, Microsoft, and Apple are in any of this. Companies that even if they were prevented from profiting directly could STILL profit if they just took over and improved the infrastructure by installing fiber next to, or in place of what’s there now.

      Think also about who’s correctly telling us that POTS is old and therefore (incorrectly) needs to go away. Answer: the politicians and big business who the POTS companies can’t pay off are saying it! And yes, these nay sayers are correct — POTS is old and desperately needs attention. But POTS should NOT be abandoned – it should be CHANGED! (Something that I do believe Google is at least halfheartedly trying to do.)

      • CrankyGeeksFan says:

        Better quality wiring would probably increase the range of DSL beyond 18,000 feet, too.

    • MikeN says:

      Since you’re a phone technician, you know this already, but for others using VOIP and the home’s phone jacks, be sure to disconnect the main phone box from the outside wiring.

  25. Greg Allen says:

    Why is almost every comment on this article about cell phones replacing land-lines?

    The article clearly says that IP protocols could replace phones. Not cell phones!

    >>The two providers want to lay the crumbling POTS to rest and replace it with Internet Protocol-based systems

    At work, I use an IP phone and it is NO DIFFERENT.

    Seriously, IT IS ABSOLUTELY THE SAME.

    My IP phones dials and sounds just like a traditional phone. And, better yet, the intercom works over long distances, not just within the building. I just love that part.

    It has a bunch more features than a regular phone — like an address book and all that.

    Why not put IP phones in houses, instead of the old tech?

    The vast majority of people would know no difference.

    • deegee says:

      Not everyone in the “modern” world has fast internet like you.
      My brother’s workplace uses IP Phones. The fastest Internet here from Telus is 6Mbps (that is all we will ever get… ever, according to Telus). When we talk from my land-line to his IP phone, there is a noticeable delay (~1/8th second) and a hollow sound.

      • Greg Allen says:

        deegee,

        But, they could.

        It’s called progress.

        I know that almost half the country is four-square against progress but a few of us still believe that we can have the good stuff like South Korea does.

        • Sammy says:

          It seems that you have a real problem with people who don’t choose to live in overly congested urban area. It’s the price we gladly pay to live where we would like without the traffic, the crime, and all else that comes with living in cities or suburbs.
          you say progress, all I see is squalor.

          Its a business decision for these companies to provide upgraded wiring to rural areas based on price per mile and return on investment. But I’m certain a Liberal like yourself would prefer that the government got involved and provide fiber optic to every nook and cranny of the country, at taxpayers expense.

          Where does it end with you guys anyway?

          • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist and junior culture critic says:

            It begins and ends with trying to achieve the most good for the most people.

            There are Pros and Cons to living in rural areas, the cities, suburbs, on a boat, in your car. You find pristine and squalor in all places, including between your ears.

            CORPORATIONS operate according to legal requirements. If optical cabling is decided as a general good, then thats the rule. AFTER THE RULE AND CONSISTENT WITH IT: let market efficiencies have their way.

            See the way?

        • CrankyGeeksFan says:

          Where I live, Verizon definitely wants to eliminate their voice grade POTS wiring for FiOS.
          The cable company has coax for its “last mile”. The cable company’s backbone is fiber optic cable.

  26. MikeN says:

    This is what happens when Benedict Arnold consumers decide to buy their phone service from European VOIP companies rather than support local workers.

    • Greg Allen says:

      Our VOIP phones are American-branded.

      Only goodness knows where they are made. We _should_ make that kind of thing here. This is why I supported Obama’s America Jobs Act. But, the Benedict Arnold’s filibustered it.

      • Sammy says:

        Obama doesn’t know how to create jobs because he’s never had a job.

        What a joke.

        • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist and junior culture critic says:

          Facts don’t mean a niggly thing to you.

          Call it Obama as much as you want, but it is CONGRESS that “creates jobs” in the sense that you are using it.

          Shit for brains.

        • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist and junior culture critic says:

          Facts don’t mean a niggly thing to you.

          Call it Obama as much as you want, but it is CONGRESS that “creates jobs” in the sense that you are using it.

  27. CrankyGeeksFan says:

    I have a disconnected central ringer bell (it sounds like a school bell) in my house because the individual ringers were then removed from telephones. This was the standard way – early 1960s – if there was more than one phone in a house.

    Apparently, many telephone central offices now have equipment that no longer can process rotary dial or pulse dial signals from telephones.

    “Remember when you had to lease your phone from The Phone Company?” If the telephone wires are removed from the current situation, this situation is very similar to the present day “contract” plans that cell phone companies use.

  28. Glenn E. says:

    Getting rid of POTS, eliminates a lot of expense for the phone company to maintain things like batteries, at their end. The batteries end up at the customer’s end, instead. I haven’t learned yet, if the expense of replacing them is also the customers or not. People I’ve asked about this, seem to forget whether or not they were billed for the battery replacement and/or labor. I know, I’d remember!

    Even though my number is on the do not call registry. I still get calls from outfits I’ve never heard of, or done any business with. And there’s just way to many “exceptions” allowed. Charities that never stop calling, no matter how many times you tell them you have nothing, or don’t want to be bothered anymore. They don’t care, they just move on to the next number on their lists, they never bother to update or correct. And cell phones are not 100% immune to these nuisance callers either. My sister tells me she’s been getting a few on her cell phone. So it won’t be long before that small advantage goes completely away.

    What really bugs me is how the phone company permits these nuisance callers to hide their identity. The phone company calls them “anonymous” callers. But I’ve never see Caller ID show me that name. It’s mostly “UNAVAILABLE” or “Out of area”. And occasionally “Private caller”. Once in a blue moon, there’s an actual business ID. So I guess the phone company is in the generic Caller ID selling business, too. “Unavailable”, my ass. They could label it, whatever the heck it is. Like “Marketer”, “Charity”, “Political”, etc.

  29. CrankyGeeksFan says:

    The customer pays for the battery with Verizon and Comcast.

    http://verizon.com/support/residential/internet/fiosinternet/troubleshooting/connection+issues/questionsone/128014.htm?CMP=DMC-CVZ_ZZ_ZZ_Z_ZZ_N_Z125

    http://stopthecap.com/2013/03/25/comcast-pay-for-your-own-backup-batteries-because-we-dont-include-them-anymore/

    I know people who recently switched their phones from the local phone utility to the local cable utility. Their CallerID “accuracy” went down, just as you described; with “UNAVAILABLE” and “Private” being a lot more common now. Maybe, the new cable phone carrier is prone to CallerID spoofing; can’t interprete the signals properly; or a case of “you get what you pay for”.

  30. CrankyGeeksFan says:

    Also, AT&T and Verizon in Florida lobbied a few years ago for dropping the white pages directories requirement for resedential customers.


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