Plummet in Landline Use Triggers Debate on Phone Numbers

By Gary Cutlack on at

Ofcom has revealed that the nation's use of landlines to talk to other people has metaphorically fallen off a cliff, with the amount of time we spend on landlines falling by half in the last six years. Because of, like Black Mirror says, all the mobile phones, and the fact your dad can get webcam sex on his iPad now so has no need to call the chatlines.

What this means, though, is that the kids don't have much understanding of the way telephone numbers work, with only the old people understanding that the o1208 code at the start of the number means someone's telephoning from Bodmin, so can therefore be ignored. And what this also means is that geographic number codes may be of no use in the future, when people don't even bother dialling – or remembering – phone numbers any more, because everyone we talk to is in a contact list and even the emergency plumber search result makes our phone dial automatically.

Hence Ofcom thinks it might be time to do away with regional area codes, perhaps handing out everyone a "number for life" and allowing this to be translated to mobile devices or attached to a landline that uses a future IP-based routing system.

In short, millennials can't remember more than three numbers in a row so telephones are dead. [Ofcom via Techradar]