In the world’s developed countries, the expectation for guaranteed, traditional phone service is slowly receding. Great Britain is the latest country to propose exchanging the requirement of guaranteed home phone access for delivery of a basic broadband connection to every home. In other words, get ready to say goodbye to some of British Telecom’s copper lines, and hello to mandated broadband access.
The UK proposal isn’t a done deal, but it symbolize the start of a new “Carter phone” era. (Ironically, Lord Carter in the UK is making the new proposal; his name harking back to the famous US FCC Carterfone decision.) What relevance does a voice-only network have today when broadband networks can handle voice, video, and data? It’s an interesting question, and certainly at least part of the answer to declining use of traditional fixed-line phone service.
Meanwhile, I’m all in favor of more broadband access. Economic slowdown or no, broadband is a necessity.