Do you have a landline? I know I don't, but then again I'm in my twenties and grew up communicating with people via text rather than voice. In the years since I've never really felt like adding an extra bill to my monthly expenses, and do all my calling from my mobile phone. Apparently home phones still use things called 'lines', which are made up of copper wires running through the ground. Well maybe not for much longer, because BT has announced it wants to ditch phone lines by 2025.
The idea is to have all phone calls happen using VoIP systems, and means BT's going to have to scrap the existing system. As such, BT Openreach is going to launch a consultation next month, tasked with figuring out the best way to make the transition. It's currently unclear how the ins and out of the infrastructure change will happen, but no doubt the consultation will attempt to clear things up. Seeing as how Ofcom is pretty fond of regulating Openreach, it'll have plenty of things to say to ensure everything goes according to plan and doesn't break the entire internet.
While this is a big step, and BT clearly has a long-term plan in mind, this isn't such a terrible idea. For starters the plan is to improve and expand the fibre-optic infrastructure that lets people enjoy lovely fast speeds, and by that point we might even have some 5G broadband infrastructure to enjoy. If you have 5G you want the best of the best, not bog standard broadband speed that rarely go higher than 10 mbps. That said, unless ISPs start building their own networks and roll all costs into one figure, Virgin Media style, we'll probably still have to pay extra line rental fees - or some sort of differently named add-on that means basically the same thing. Someone has to maintain the network, after all, and they need to get the money to pay for everything from somewhere.
Plus seeing as how more and more things are being done via the internet, TV being the obvious example, we could do without an ancient system sticking around. The more we do online the more data we need, and the more data we need the better the broadband infrastructure has to be. So copper lines can die with some grace, and finally we'll stop having out internet cut out because chavs ripped out the cables hoping to make a few quid. [The Register via Trusted Reviews]