Despite dramatic residential decline, landlines not yet obsolete

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By: Jake Stofan | Capitol News Service
August 3, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- For the sixth straight year, the Florida Public Service Commission says more and more Floridians are ditching their landlines for wireless or internet phone service.

Last year, two of Florida's three biggest landline providers took major hits to their customer base. Landline customers dropped 22 percent at AT&T and 25 percent with Frontier, but Century Link managed to get by with only a six percent drop.

It's not all doom and gloom though. Mark Long helped create the report and says competition is still healthy between providers, which is largely due to the legislature deregulating the market.

"Competitors are finding different ways of getting their customers," he said.

There were only three million landlines in use in 2016, down from more than four and a half million just three years before.

While technology like pay phones has virtually disappeared, landlines are likely to be around for a while longer because of their appeal to business.

"That is where a large amount of competition is going on - for those small business," said Long.

Businesses account for nearly two-thirds of the existing landlines in the state. Although that market may be declining more slowly than residential users, business users aren't immune to change.

Although landline use has decreased for the last six years, regulators say the decline is leveling off, suggesting it may take a while longer before landlines are hung up for good.



 
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