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Washington (AFP) - America's plain old telephone network is rapidly being overtaken by new technology, putting US regulators in a quandary over how to manage the final stages of transformation.

Though the timing remains unclear, the impact of change and what it means for roughly 100 million Americans who remain reliant on the dated but still-functional system of copper wires and switching stations is up for debate.

The Federal Communications Commission is working toward drafting rules in January to formalize the IP transition -- switching communications systems to Internet protocol.

And while FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler hails the technological advance, he has also spoken of maintaining the "set of values" that was used to ensure America's universal phone service.

But some argue the government should step aside and allow the marketplace to keep moving toward digital standards, given that many consumers already use voice over Internet (VoIP) lines, mobile phones or various Web-based chat systems such as Skype instead of traditional telephone service.

"Almost everyone will be off this network in the next four years. It is a dead model walking," said Scott Cleland, of the research and consulting firm Precursor LLC, noting that three quarters of the transition is done.

Cleland, a former White House telecom policy adviser, said that even if people wanted to keep the old system, "they are not making the switches anymore for this. And the engineers they need to keep it alive are retiring."

 

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I bet the new replacement system would be even more easily tapped than what already are.

I hope it would easy for normal citizens to tap the Congress, Senates, The FED, Supreme/Secret Courts, President (and other executive branch)'s phones.

 

Total Transparency, to ensure clean, corrupt-less government.

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I wonder what phone system the White House uses ....

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I bet the new replacement system would be even more easily tapped than what already are.

I hope it would easy for normal citizens to tap the Congress, Senates, The FED, Supreme/Secret Courts, President (and other executive branch)'s phones.

 

Total Transparency, to ensure clean, corrupt-less government.

 

how much more easy to tap can it be then non-digital non-encrypted pure voice over copper? only the CO's and main transmission lines right now between CO's are digital and fiber optic...

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I wonder what phone system the White House uses ....

 

It's a special cisco VoIP system with an encrypted patch option that is non-standard...

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I have a feeling carriers are going to use any transition as an excuse to bill per minute again for land lines... something that went away many many years ago except for long distance...

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claiming they don't make the switches anymore is BS... they just finished switching all the switching's systems from analog to digital a few years ago with the last analog switching system being decommissioned... they still make CO switching equipment...

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The plain old copper telephone system will never completely go away as long DSL continues existing. It may cease operation as an actual telephone network...but its other uses will keep it around for a while.

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I still have a phone that looks very much like the one in that picture, made in the 1940s and still works perfectly. They better not ruin it.

 

Also saying that everyone will be off landlines in four years is nonsense, has he never been to any rural areas?

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The carriers ain't gonna do one darn thing until they are forced to.

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