Changing lines

By From page A6 | September 27, 2013

Although phone lines hardly ever go out and always work during a power outage, more people are dropping their land lines.

Recent information from the Census Bureau said only 71 percent of American households now have hard phone lines. People are giving up the expense in favor of totally relying on cell phones. Now, mostly all sophisticated smart phones, they provide Internet service in your hand or on your tablet.

Many with desktop computers use their cable service for Internet access. Some use it for phone service. Of course, when the power goes so does your cable telephone.

Many who keep land line service hardly ever answer their phone anymore. They leave a message, such as the following: “Due to the number of telemarketing calls we get we don’t answer our phone anymore. If you know us, you will know how to reach us by cell phone.”

The federal government’s registry for individuals to be on the do-not-telemarket list seems to be more like a list of Swiss cheese varieties. Phone owners get robo calls from carpet cleaners, solar panel companies, endless warnings about PG&E rates increases, Tom McClintock telephone “town halls,” improve your credit, refinance your home, surveys and endless mystery numbers that don’t even leave a message.

Two-thirds of the households led by those ages 15-29 rely exclusively on cell phones.

In big cities where you can get fiber optic lines, the phone companies are competing with cable to offer TV and Internet service together. Phone company fiber optics, cable broadband Internet and even 4G smart phone service are leading people, particularly the millennials — those born in the 1980s — to get their TV programming off the Internet. That’s one reason Netflix is having a revival. It’s one reason the broadcast networks are being tougher in negotiating deals with cable companies, because of the value of selling programming direct to consumers over the Internet.

Besides Netflix there is Hulu, iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Blockbuster, Cinamanow, Aereo and Android, to name a few.

To paraphrase Bob Dylan, the lines they are a changing.

Mountain Democrat

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