Come on, Ricky...let the future bury it's own dead too. The only other choice is a wireless architecture requiring a huge buildout- assuming you could even get past the NIMBY crowd to do it.
But again, and just as one example of several: anyone could ship free mesh elements to every user in any town on a trial basis. You plug em' in, connect with any WiFi device (and your trial key), and you're on line. You could also offer simple ethernet-over-power access points for desktops and basically serve anything in a house- even in a basement. A mesh requires only a few actual access points- and SOC technology has made them damned cheap. The fact remains obvious to anyone with a background in technology: without the legacy network and its associated easements, legacy telcos would be crushingly disadvantaged, and out of business in short order.
That may change. See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/landline-rules-frustrate-telecoms/2012/04/12/gIQAG2XvDT_story_1.html
Bottom line: telcos want out of the obligation to provision land lines. That would certainly boost profits- because they could then provision only areas with the highest population densities and roi- i.e. cities. But the catch seems obvious. The equipment subsidies telcos are using to drive the cell market would come to a screeching halt if low-cost land line access was no longer a required part of the cost of doing business. Ironically, it would a giant step backwards for consumer rights- even as corporate profit went through the roof.
And...it's another stunning display of ignorance from "Ricky won't lose that number"...those named (and you missed Ooma, which is better) require a broadband connection to work. Speaking of which, DSL is still widely sold and quite profitable. Those who prefer ComCast or other service providers cite T's service issues and speed issues- caused by T's lack of staff and poor maintenance of outside plant- and, of course, it's failure to build out the physical architecture required to support the new demands being placed on an antiquated network. If they'd spent on outside plant what they frittered away snatching at the gold ring of T-Mobile, T would be be far more competitive- and that applies to mobility as well. Spectrum is only half the story- backhaul, which largely takes place through physical facilities, is the other side of the coin.
Im hearing from the guys on the ground that repair and installation is way over staffed providing the company isnt hidding work again. People are being asked daily to take vacation or time off if they want. Surpluses look very likely in all wireline departments.
Would that it were so- I know people who carried most of their 2011 vacation into the first quarter of this year- because the company couldn't afford to let them take it. If there were sufficient people, paying off vacation balances as cash at the end of every calendar year wouldn't even be on the bargaining table. Instead, it's one of the most hotly debated issues- right up there with the company's desire to stop paying for sick leave. There may be overstaffed areas- but that would be a management issue, wouldn't it? They certainly need those people in other places....ask any customer, or any independent rating agency, like Consumer Reports.