But many seniors and people who live in rural areas still depend on land-lines. Consumer watchdogs are making sure they do not lose them. And those who perhaps prefer a landline to a wireless phone because of potentially hazardous health effects still being debated – take heart. Olivia Wein of the National Consumer Law Center says landline phones will not disappear overnight.
But Wein says much of the copper wire pathway that phone calls travel from one landline telephone to another is being replaced by Internet-based digital transmission.
Telecom companies may benefit and are trying to convince regulators these calls have transformed into an “information service,” with much less government regulation.
Consumer groups say the result could be higher prices and almost no monitoring or enforcement against rip-offs.