It is clear fixed line telephone services in the United States are beginning a rapid decline, with users favoring mobile phones and computer-enabled telephony, some would argue. Bill Reidway, Neustar Vice President of Numbering Services Product Management Reidway, is among them.

“As the fixed line network begins to fall by the wayside” explained Reidway, “the notion of telephone numbers associated with a specific geography falls with it.” Neustar’s Vision on the Future of Telephony That doesn’t mean numbers are less important, just useful in a new way.

Reidway also explained that although telephone numbers no longer have rigid location sensitive significance, users still generally prefer to associate their phone numbers with a location, and that is particularly important for business users. While it is certainly possible for a business or individual to use an area code, or even country code from any point in the world, he believes an area code “still says something about the identity behind the number.”

One might argue that, over time, the role of a fixed network will change, with users relying on fixed networks for some services and features that are superior to wireless, including bandwidth, cost and features. Business users are likely to derive higher value from fixed line voice than consumers will, for example.

Fixed networks always will be more effective and efficient for linear video, barring some massive switch to IP multicasting. And fixed line networks should also retain some advantages in the quality of service area.

Still, it still is shocking to hear industry insiders talking about “rapid decline” with respect to voice services.

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