Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Land Line Dinosaur

In our last posting we noted the availability of equipment directly from wireless carriers that replace your wireline with a wireless box.  Recently, Verizon, the landline operator, decided they will not replace the damaged copper wire lines in parts of New York and New Jersey that were damaged by (hurricane) Sandy.  Instead, they will use Verizon Wireless Voice Link.  Their studies showed 80 to 90% of phone traffic in those areas were already exclusively wireless.  In a guest column from Stop the Cap, Tom Maguire, Verizon’s Senior Vice President of Network Operations Support stated,
"In places like Fire Island, New York and some communities along the Jersey Shore, such as Mantoloking and Seaside Heights, Verizon evaluated the extent of the damage to its facilities – which in many cases were literally washed away by Super Storm Sandy – and conducted extensive research before deciding the best course of action to take in terms of restoration.

Fire Island is a popular beach community with only a few hundred year-round residents, but the population swells each summer. Verizon’s equipment on the eastern side of the island was not too heavily impacted, so repairs were made and services restored. On the western side of the Island, however, a large percentage of Verizon’s copper facilities were damaged beyond repair.
We studied the voice traffic on and off the island and where it was originating from on both Verizon’s wireline and wireless networks.  The company discovered that 80 percent of the voice traffic was already wireless.  If other wireless providers were factored in, it is likely that the percentage is closer to 90 percent.  This made it clear that people had already made the decision as to what technology works best. They had abandoned copper long before Sandy."
This is similar to incidents in the West where phone poles and wires were damaged by floods and wildfires and were replaced by RF microwave links.  At the time, customers and lawmakers feared losing the reliability of copper wire but after years of usage with these wireless connections, those fears have been largely unfounded.

It looks like when our copper networks begin to deteriorate, wireless may be the only replacement, especially when many of us have already substituted that pair of wires with cable from the cable company.  While it's scary that in some places the same company owns all 3 connections, it looks like the future is indeed wireless.

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