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Project Status: In Progress
This page is defunct and is no longer updated. Visit the telephony page on Copper Files for more recent updates and info.
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Click here for the Landline Survey. (Click the link that says "Take the Survey")
The landline telephone will always be a necessity in the global era of communication. Unfortunately, the vast majority of telecommunications companies care more about getting your money than about providing you the reliable telephone service that you deserve.
Here's what's going on — lately as mobile phones have become more popular with consumers, more and more people have started adopting that technology. After all, what's not to like? Well, if you haven't read our blog posts on landlines and our blog post on the impacts of technology, I highly encourage you to do so. The trend we've been seen lately is a dangerous one — as mobile phone usage increases, landline telephone usage decreases. In the most extreme cases, the difference between a landline and a mobile phone could be life or death. At the other end, it could be as trivial as a failed relationship because that someone on the other end of the line thought you meant something else and broke up with you all because you were using a mobile phone and suffered from the terrible quality that cell phones come with. Since a good majority of people seem to have adopted mobile phones, a good number of them have posed this question to themselves — if I have a mobile phone, do I even need my landline anymore? After all, I can take my mobile phone anywhere, and my landline just sits here and receives telephone calls, right? You may have been one of these people too — it's a very easy trap to fall into.
So we know the real reasons that landline usage is decreasing everywhere around the world is because of economics. People don't want to pay for two separate telephone systems — why not just keep one? Well, pretty much anywhere in the world, landline telephone service will most likely cost less than your typical mobile phone plan, which means that by switching from a landline to a mobile phone, you actually end up paying more each month. What is more, you get much less for your money. The quality of telephone calls from a mobile phone is much worse, simply because they are not real telephones and they can't and don't use a dedicated dedicated wire. Despite this, people seem to have acquired the mindset that they are in fact, saving money. We can narrow this case to folks who have decided that they would like telephone service wherever they go, whether it be at a restaurant or at the mall. The reason being? Simply the fact that because as mobile phone usage as been decreasing, telephone companies have found it less profitable to maintain payphones all over the place. And because telephone companies would rather dedicated their resources to whatever makes them the most money, they then step into the mobile phone game and remove payphones from a number of places, which then ends up prompting more people to get mobile phones, causing the telephone company to remove even more payphones. It's like a never-ending cycle.
This is just one of the problems that "The Landline Project" aims to solve. By breaking this cycle, we can help everyone get back on track to a more humane life. Even though I've already discussed this, I'm going to breifly summarize why you need to still keep your landline, even if that means getting rid of your mobile phone (not the other way around).
Is there really any reason to have a mobile phone at all?
The long and the short of it is NO — you don't need to be always connected and always reachable. It's literally not healthy for you. And even if you do have a cell phone, that doesn't eliminate your need for a landline. The truth is that mobile phones really aren't an innovation of the landline telephone. They're a completely separate technology, and they're a downgrade at that. Now, in the age of technology, why would you downgrade? You wouldn't give up your all-powerful desktop at work for a 5 inch tablet, so why should your telephone needs be any different?
Now, what about smartphones, you might ask? They can do so much more than just a landline telephone! True, you can't send an email with your landline (although you can send a fax), but analyze the situation a little bit — the purpose of a telephone is to be able to successfully place and receive telephone calls. And at that, a landline telephone wins over a mobile phone anytime, anywhere. In otherwords, cellphones, mobile phones, smartphones — whatever you might call them, are not really telephones in all respects. They're a compromise invention, sort of like how green is a compromise of yellow and blue. You don't get the full benefits of yellow, and you don't get the full benefits of blue, but you just get a little bit of both. That's what smartphones are. They aren't as good at being telephones as a landline telephone. And they aren't as good at any non-telephone stuff as a computer. You get a very compromised experience. The smartphone is a compromise invention that isn't good at doing anything in particular. It can do a variety of tasks, but it can't do any of them well. This is why power users don't use mobile devices and they use desktops. Why would they want a compromise device when they can get the real thing? If you need to do anything besides making telephone calls, use a computer. You might scoff at senior citizens for sending faxes, sending telegrams, using Windows XP and using a rotary telephone, but the reality is that all of those are much more capable and much more powerful than the small, lightweight, mobile, compromise devices of today. So senior citzens aren't technology-dumb — they're actually much smarter than the younger generations that are more mobile these days. They know what's best for them, and they've made the right choice. Most young people aren't yet old enough to know the difference between technology and real life, and most mobile device users don't have much ambition either. You wouldn't use a tablet to get real work done compared to a desktop, would you? Why should making a telephone call be different? Think about it.
If you think about it, this actually makes a lot of sense. We always like things to be bigger and better. Landlines offer superior call quality and they offer numerous benefits that mobile phones simply were not designed to exceed. Getting rid of our deeply integrated POTS grid will return us to a pre-1870s era. Landlines today are most often found in the homes of the wealthy. Indirectly, landlines have become representative of how developed a country is, as most developing countries typically lack landline infrastructure
Finally, I'll wrap this section up by reviewing this case at a different angle — in addition to the benefits of landlines and some of the negatives of mobile phones, there are negatives about mobile technology in general as well as positives about fixed technology (like landlines and desktops). For one thing, we have been increasingly increasing our reliance on technology, which has become especially profound as mobile devices emerged and gained popularity. Many people can't remember telephone numbers anymore. And almost as horrendous, many people aren't able to navigate anywhere by themselves. Now that you can load maps onto a mobile phone, complete with GPS capability, many people have effectively used technology to replace a large portion of their brain. You don't see the negative consequences of this until the technology isn't there anymore. For example, in the early 1900s, if telephones just suddenly disappeared, what would the effect on society have been? Well, probably not much, given that at the time only the elite owned telephones. Today, however, a large part of way of doing things would unravel rather quickly! The point? GPS is a great resource, no doubt — but you must remember too much of anything is fatal, and technology is a great example of this. We have reached the threshold where there is more technology that humans really should be exposed to on a regular basis. We have crossed the threshold where technology is no longer aiding or supplementing the human experience, rather, it is replacing it. Being able to navigate somewhere is a life skill. No matter how much technology there is, you need to know how to do. Anyone can use a computer and be able to calculate the route from Seattle to Chicago using a program like Bing Maps. The question is, without technology, could you do it? Human ingenuity, the true value of one's role today, is not determined by what they can do with technology. It is what they can do without it. In other words, if computers and telephones weren't around, would your life have value? If the answer to that is probably not, you need to rethink a core component of how you live your life. As for navigation, you should for sure be able to navigate more or less anywhere in your vicinity, including to any street in your town or city, and major areas in the surrounding metropolis. For those in a rural area, it would be a good idea to know how to get to an urban area. And everyone should know where all of the interstate highways in their state go and the very basics, like the names and capitols of all 50 states. A GPS system, or a navigation tool like Bing Maps is great when you're going somewhere you've never been before and lies outside your immediate area, such as in a neighboring county or state. But a GPS is still a little extreme — finding directions on your computer and printing them out should suffice — true, you might miss a turn. But you'll be able to drive without that annoying GPS voice and more importantly, it's about the journey, not the destination. Immerse yourself in the surroundings. Enjoy the thrill of driving and not knowing where you're going. You'll pay more attention and you'll gain a better appreciation for the world around you. There is a world outside of technology — embrace it.
Please note that everything below this point is simply an idea. None of the ground work for any of these ideas exists (yet), although we hope that something of this sort will exist in the near future.
This is where we come in. "The Landline Project" and to a lesser extent, "The Payphone Project" are services that will be available in the near future to, at first, specific regions of the United States, but eventually our services will be available to the entire nation, and possibly a good part of the world as well.
The Landline Project
"The Landline Project" is our response to America's largest telephone companies turning selfish against their customers. By raising your telephone bills, they'll hope that you drop landline service so they can abandon the technology all together in order to maximize profits. Plenty of people, including us, are mortified at how greedy large telephone corporations, especially those that also provide mobile phone services, have become. Here's the plan:
Our goal is to more or less reinstate the Bell System that existed prior to when the government broke it up in 1984 in what was one of the worst government interferences with capitalism in history. Yes, AT&T was extremely wealthy, but the Bell System was effective at provided friendly, reliable, high-quality telephone service. Since 1984, America has gone from having the world's best telephone service to simply mediocre service.
The goal is to eventually have all landline telephones apart of this new telephone exchange network. Sound like a monopoly? Technically, yes it will be, but you can rest assured that we won't ever try to coerce you into giving up your landline service. After all, that's our goal! Our company's reputation is backed by our commitment to landline technology and our goal to reverse the trend of mobilization. Why should you choose us over your current telephone provider? We will be organized as a non-profit organization, which is pretty neat because not many non-profits operate public utilities. Because we don't care about profit, we pass the savings onto you to ensure that you pay as much as the service really costs and not a penny more.
Also keep in mind that our telephone service is REAL, which is hard to get these days. You get authentic landline telephone service from us, nothing less, nothing more. Not VoIP, not broadband phone service, not mobile phone service or other phone technology, just POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service)!
Because we very well likely won't be able to steal the AT&T trademark, this new company will probably be called American Bell Corporation. We will accquire Western Electric, Bell Labs, and Western Union. In the future, we may also branch out through Western Electric to manufacturing old cars and other old equipment that will soon be new (they don't make 'em like they used to!).
If you have any further questions, comments, or concerns, please use the Contact page to let us know!