Death Knell Sounding? Number of Traditional Phone Lines Plummets

Americans are continuing to nix traditional telephone service as VoIP enters the mainstream.

In a report released earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission disclosed that switched access lines traditional telephone connections decreased by 10 percent in 2009 from 141 million to 127 million lines.

Meanwhile, interconnected VoIP subscriptions rose 22 percent from 21 million to 26 million subscriptions during the same period.

But as of 2009, VoIP still comprised only 17 percent of the total telephone lines in the United States.

Of the 153 million total connections in service at the end of 2009, 83 percent were residential (45 percent) and business (38 percent) switched access lines. Fifteen percent of the connections were residential interconnected VoIP subscriptions while 2 percent comprised business interconnected VoIP lines, according to the FCC. Cable operators, traditional phone companies and specialized VoIP providers like Vonage sell IP phone service over broadband connections.

The FCCs report summarized data that the agency collected as of Dec. 31, 2009.

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