Landlines Getting Disconnected [AUDIO]
Some Sandy-ravaged communities have brought attention to a dying breed. Communication companies are gradually hanging up on the traditional landlines that homes have used for decades.
The copper wiring that connected Mantoloking residents to the rest of the world was completed washed away by the October storm. Instead of spending the cash on hard line repairs, Verizon installed a wireless device in the disconnected homes. With it, folks can still pick up their phone and hear a dial tone.
Tom Maguire, Verizon's Vice President of National Operations Support, said copper is a sound technology, but in terms of investing in the future, it's probably not the wisest choice. Verizon competitors have a similar view.
According to U.S. Telecom, just one in four United States households will utilize a copper phone line by the end of 2013.
"Because of the proliferation of very customer-friendly handheld devices, you've seen a sizable portion of the population move over to completely bypass the wireline network," Maguire said.
Of course, people are also stepping away from copper the second they switch to cable packages that can offer phone, television and internet.
Verizon's wireless product, known as Voice Link, doesn't handle data.
It served as a quick solution to voice-only customers in Mantoloking, but Maguire said Verizon is interested in making the switch anywhere service is not being delivered up to par via copper.
The company would need approval for such a massive shift. The Board of Public Utilities says they have no proposals in front of them.