rotary-phone

(Baltimore Sun) – Not since Alexander Graham Bell twisted pairs of wires together in the 1870s has the simple telephone technology that has served Americans for generations — the landline — faced such a threat to its existence.

It’s not just that droves of customers are dropping their home phones for cellphones, or switching to newer, fiber-based services such as Verizon’s FiOS network. Major telecom companies have made no secret of their desire to abandon the traditional, copper wire-based phone service.

AT&T wants to complete the switch within five years. Verizon, the dominant landline provider in Maryland, hasn’t set a date.

But there are many in Maryland and across the country who are fighting the change. They want to maintain the traditional, copper-based landlines for the advantages they offer. In a power outage, for example, landlines allow a telephone to draw electricity from the network and keep working; Voice over Internet Protocol and fiber-based phones rely on batteries.

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