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Ditching your Landline Just Got Easier 358

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the taking-it-with-you dept.
QuePasaCalabaza writes "The FCC has approved a bill 5-0 that allows consumers to take their land line phone numbers and carry them over to thier wireless phones. USA Today has one of the first scoops on this ruling. The official news release [Word|PDF] is there."
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Ditching your Landline Just Got Easier

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  • So I still can't ditch my land line.. unless I want to get into bed with the evil cable company that is.
    • You can have DSL on a line that doesn't have voice service.
      • Re:I have DSL (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ThogScully (589935) <neilsd@neilschelly.com> on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @12:49PM (#7445072) Homepage
        Technically, yes. But when I used to have DSL (cable wasn't available yet when I moved here), I was required to have a voice line by Verizon in order to get DSL service. And no other company could connect me with DSL due to problems communicating with Verizon - even Verizon took 4 months.

        Anyway, saving $40/month by switching to cable and dropping my landline was the best and most cost effective upgrade I ever did and I don't have to pay a dime to Verizon ever again.
        -N
      • It depends on where you are. In San Francisco you must have residential phone service to get DSL [thanks SBC!]. Fortunately people have his habit of not securing their wireless networks and slightly out-of-spec antennas are easy to build.

        Anyway, this bill comes about 3 years too late for a lot of us. Also, much like cell number portability I'll believe it when I see it.
      • You can have DSL on a line that doesn't have voice service.
        Not if you're an SBC customer.
    • Re:I have DSL (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheShadow (76709) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @12:43PM (#7444974)
      unless I want to get into bed with the evil cable company that is

      Well, you're already in bed with the evil phone company... so what's the difference?

      Someone needs to just run fiber to everyone's house/business and put all these bozos out of business.
      • Re:I have DSL (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Short Circuit (52384)
        Even if I had a plan that could put the big telcos out of business, I wouldn't. They own and operate too much of the Internet infrastructure. Wouldn't want to risk killing that, now, would we?

        Remember when UUNet threatened to only pass traffic of paying customers? That would have cause a severe disruption in the...well...nevermind. But the point is, the same thing could happen if one of the big backbones were to kick the bucket.
        • Explain this to me...at what point in time did UUNet (or any other backbone) pass traffic for free?

          If you're thinking of peering circuits/NAPs, remember that providers only advertise their own networks to peering partners - they're not going to take traffic at a peer that isn't going to one of their paying customers. So in that sense, the traffic does belong to their paying customer.

          Was there a plan at one time at UUNet to pull peering circuits?
      • Re:I have DSL (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pauljlucas (529435)
        Well, you're already in bed with the evil phone company... so what's the difference?
        The difference is that cable companies usually have more Draconian TOS than phone companies and usually don't offer static IPs. Although I have no great love for SBC, their TOS specifically allow me to run servers. I've never seen a cable company that would do that.
        • Re:I have DSL (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ncc74656 (45571)

          The difference is that cable companies usually have more Draconian TOS than phone companies and usually don't offer static IPs. Although I have no great love for SBC, their TOS specifically allow me to run servers. I've never seen a cable company that would do that.

          Business service through Cox costs about the same as residential service, and about the only thing you can't do is run a warez server or a spamhaus on it. Port-25 traffic is blocked on dynamic IPs, but static IPs are only $10 per month.

          Wit

      • I love these "someone needs to run fiber to everyone's house" comments. If you think it is do-able.. and can make a profit.. write the business plan, get the VC and start laying fiber.
      • Re:I have DSL (Score:3, Informative)

        Someone needs to just run fiber to everyone's house/business and put all these bozos out of business.
        ... And then we can deal with the "Evil fiber optic companies."
        Sorry. Already got it. [clearworks.com] Quirky internet service, frequent outages, crappy tv reception, and an incompetent customer service department that thinks it should work banker's hours. I thought this was going to be great when I moved into my new home, and after about 6 months ditched them and went with Time Warner. Thank Cthulu I never let them hand
      • Re:I have DSL (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hanssprudel (323035)
        Well, you're already in bed with the evil phone company... so what's the difference?

        Someone needs to just run fiber to everyone's house/business and put all these bozos out of business.


        What makes you think that wouldn't end up being the evil fiber company?

        Wiring peoples houses is conductive to natural monopolies. Some part of me can't help but think it might be better off as public infrastructure (a la roads), but then I think of how much I would be paying to wire all the people who have chosen to live
      • I agree, but then you'll just have an evil fibre company
    • ...unless I want to get into bed with the evil cable company that is.

      Why not? Cable connections perform...better

      Sorry. Couldn't resist.

    • Re:I have DSL (Score:3, Interesting)

      I couldn't agree more. However The Bell Bitches are every bit as evil.

      Lets say I want to run VOIP to bypass SBC. I have to have Cable. What about DSL you say? If I want DSL I have to have a landline so I can't bypass them. It takes cable + VOIP to bypass the Bell Bitches as of now for any ADSL. This is a total L.O.S. I've called SBC and asked them why I can't get _just_ DSL. There answer was "WE need a copper pair to run the signal on". Ok, then run it like you would if I were going to have a phone.
    • hopefully Verizon and other carriers can start providing internet access over wireless connections. Don't know how this would work in sparsely populated areas..don't most of these areas have a problem with DSL service anyway?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @12:42PM (#7444960)
    and on vacation find me...
  • 5-0 ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kajoob (62237) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @12:43PM (#7444977)
    On a side note, does it disturb anyone else that a mere 5 people control such weighty decision affecting telecommunications?
    • Re:5-0 ? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mblase (200735) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @12:46PM (#7445022)
      On a side note, does it disturb anyone else that a mere 5 people control such weighty decision affecting telecommunications?

      There are only nine people on the U.S. Supreme Court who decide whether laws governing your school, your privacy, or your right to have an abortion are constitutional or not. Get used to it.
      • And 535 members of Congress who make those laws. And thousands more that are responsible for state and local laws. What's your point?
      • On a side note, does it disturb anyone else that a mere 5 people control such weighty decision affecting telecommunications? There's only one guy who can decide to drop a nuke on your ass if he felt like it. Or start a war for "90 days" wherever he feels like in your name. Not to mention the whole veto power, state of emergency stuff.
    • Re:5-0 ? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by KD5YPT (714783) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @12:49PM (#7445066) Journal
      So would you rather have 5 relatively technical savvy people making a decision, or 400+ people (the congress) who don't have the slightest idea on what TCP/IP and Ports are making the decision?
      • Re:5-0 ? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by nelsonal (549144)
        You might want to read their bios or their statements if you really think these people are even relatively technically savvy. The commissioners are generally economists, lawyers, and other anti-trust types. They are bright, but not particularly technically savvy.
  • by BoomerSooner (308737) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @12:45PM (#7445003) Homepage Journal
    Just as long as you don't need to use your phone during an emergency.

    Hell, I cannot get reception during home football games much less after a tornado rips through the state.

    Land line is also good for your home's alarm and tracking where a 911 call is made from.

    I guess I'm just an alarmist, but when you need to call someone, a land line is significantly more reliable than a cable phone or cell phone.
    • cell phone tracking for 911 services is fully functional in europe, and as i understand, nearing rollout in the states.

      hell in europe they're discussing whether parents can use cell phone location technology to track their kids.
      • hell in europe they're discussing whether parents can use cell phone location technology to track their kids.

        See, this is why I don't want a cell phone. Unless I can turn the tracking features off. Of course, when the phone is on and emitting signals it can be tracked whether it has any special tracking functions built in or not.

        • ::shrug::

          it's the price of connectedness. people want to be connected, and digital connections can be logged.

          you could always turn the phone off when you're not using it, and only use it to make phone calls and return voicemails.

          i've got a foil-hat'd friend who already does just that.

          then they'd only know where you were while you were actively using it, but they wouldn't be able to log your every move.
          • True.

            Really, the main reason I don't have a cell phone is that I'm cheap. I can accept some tracking in some instances. 911 calls, and with a court order for criminal investigation purposes. But when they start talking about letting any joe user access the info about other peoples phones (even if it's their own children), that's when I get nervous. It seems like there would too many ways to get into the system and abuse it.

            Plus, it pisses me off when parents try to use technology to do their job for the

    • Many local land-based phone companies are now providing 911 services for people without actual land line services. This is for the people who simply can't afford a phone, period.

      On a side note, I'd like a cell phone docking station that would connect my cell phone to my house wiring - much like the ATA adapters that come with popular VoIP services like vonage or packet8.net.
    • or until (Score:5, Insightful)

      by The Tyro (247333) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @12:56PM (#7445164)
      a burglar cuts your land line before hitting your house; oldest trick in the book. Cuts off the phone-home feature of most home alarm systems, particularly since the ones that do have a "cellular backup" feature charge big extra fees for that feature.

      I like always having a cell phone available. If you suspect a home burglary and find that your phone doesn't work, you'll be damned glad you have that cell, because you're facing one of two kinds of opponents.

      #1. A professional who has anticipated your alarm system.

      #2. A stalker-type who has surveiled you, knows you are home, and has plans for you.

      Either way... I'll keep my cell AND land line.
      • a burglar cuts your land line before hitting your house; oldest trick in the book.

        Is this based on statistics or the movies? In what percentage of burglaries does this happen? And what percentage of 911 calls actually involve burglaries?

        Lacking evidence to the contrary, I very much doubt this is common enough to make land lines less reliable than cell phones for making 911 calls.

        --Bruce Fields

    • by chochos (700687) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @01:01PM (#7445214) Homepage Journal
      you also need a land line to get out of the Matrix, but they never explained why...
    • So long as you have a landline phone plugged into the wall jack, you can dial 911. You don't even have to pay for service.

      The same is true for cell phones as well. If you cancel your cell service you can still dial 911 in the event of an emergency. It's some sort of legal requirement that telephone companies allow 911 calls to go through.
    • by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @01:42PM (#7445719)
      I guess I'm just an alarmist, but when you need to call someone, a land line is significantly more reliable than a cable phone or cell phone.

      Assuming you're in your home when this urgent need to call someone arises.

      Here in the NYC metro area, the only time I've been unable to get a cell phone call through (this was 9/11), all the landline circuits were overloaded too. I eventually managed to catch a friend in the outer suburbs on AIM, and had him call my mother and let her know I was alright.

  • by Space cowboy (13680) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @12:45PM (#7445013) Journal
    ... in the UK. I've managed to keep my mobile number for a couple of years now, but they did it by requiring every mobile number to start 07... That makes it impossible to have your home number on the phone :-(

    Simon
    • When I call someone in 0121, for example, I know they live in Birmingham and they cann't change that. I like being able to tell whats what, who's from where and how to avoid a fair few criminal traders who operate out of unregistered PAYG mobiles.
      • No, you don't KNOW that. You know that they have access to somewhere to put a phone outlet and forward their calls via, and that is all. Yes, it means it's a little bit harder, but if you rely on the phone number to indicate trust you're just begging someone to screw you over.
    • but they did it by requiring every mobile number to start 07...

      This has its advantages, however. If any number can be a cellphone number, then telcos are reluctant to place the financial burden of calling a cellphone on the person making the call. Instead, you end up with the situation over here in the USA, where the person receiving the call has to pony up. Which leads to a ridiculous TCO for cellphones here. On moving from the UK to the USA, my cellphone bill (Cingular) went from approx. 20 pounds ($3

  • by seriv (698799)
    An easier way for the FBI to monitor us all.
    -Seriv
  • ...is a way to keep DSL service w/o an old-fashioned land line.
  • by jdh33 (457067) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @12:48PM (#7445048) Homepage
    What about wanting to go back to landline service?
    I'm tired of my cell service and just want to put my wireless number on a landline. Or better yet, put my wireless number on a vonage line.

    • You can't. (Score:4, Informative)

      by Shivetya (243324) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @12:56PM (#7445152) Homepage Journal
      A few articles have detailed the problem, and it all revolves around area codes. Without expressed limits what would stop some idiot from New York wanting to transfer his line to his new California home?

      Perhaps if the phone system could ditch area codes as geographical representation. It should not be too hard, in Atlanta we have 4 area codes all covering the same LARGE area (largest free calling zone in US)

      404,770,678, and 470
    • The WLNP rules say you should be able to do that. The usual portability rules will apply.
  • Just saw (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mental_telepathy (564156) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @12:49PM (#7445071)
    a commerical for a new service from Cingular that would allow you to tie your cell phone to ring to your home phone when attached to a device they sell. And you don't use wireless minutes when answering at home. So, you could have the bext of both worlds.
    • Bellsouth had this back in ~95 for cell phones. When you were in range of a base station, the cell functioned as a cordless.
    • Uhh, ever heard of call forwarding?
    • Saw a commercial for that lately myself. What bothers me is they seem to be pitching the device along the angle of "you don't have to go look for your cell" in a coat pocket since it rings your landline phones... except it has to be in the device cradle to work, so that being the case, don't you know where it is? (yeah, hole in marketing pitch, who'd have thought? and yeah, I know there are other reasons, but they need better commercials.)
  • But...My TiVo. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by boinger (4618) <[boinger] [at] [fuck-you.org]> on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @12:50PM (#7445077) Homepage
    How will TiVo know what's going on?

    You can't even record a single show without first making a telephone call on a landline. Even the DirecTiVos which get their listing from the satellite.

    Is there a way to plug a normally landline-connected device into a cell phone for the occasional call?
    • ...so this isn't for you. Keep your landline.

      Frankly everyone should keep a landline for emergency calls at the very least. Lord knows I don't want to be searching for service if I'm bleeding to death on the floor.
      • Keep your landline.

        Yeah, great. $40 a month (yes, really. SBC rapes you. $35 or so just for the line, and we had to get Privacy Manager to stop the 10+ calls a day of the telemarketers' war dialers just calling and hanging up) so I can call 911 if I'm bleeding on the floor.

        So for the next 27 years that comes to, uh, $12,960. Assuming no inflation.

        Want to split it? You can make emergency calls, too.

        Notably, even "inactive" phone lines still connected to the grid have to be able to make 911 calls (as me

    • Re:But...My TiVo. (Score:4, Informative)

      by Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @12:56PM (#7445167) Homepage Journal
      Well, a simple Google search finds this product [9thtee.com], (blurb from site: "The TurboNETTM Ethernet Adapter Card allows you to hook your TiVo up to your network. This allows daily updates over broadband instead of the telephone, easier hacking, TiVoWEB, etc.") although I'm sure there are other ways to accomplish the task of avoiding the need for a phone line.
      • Re:But...My TiVo. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by boinger (4618)
        I am fully aware of the various tools/hacks for connecting a TiVo to an Ethernet LAN.

        You still have to make the initial call over a phone line. I'm positive.

        • Re:But...My TiVo. (Score:3, Informative)

          by kennylives (27274)

          You still have to make the initial call over a phone line. I'm positive.

          Nope.

          With the 1st gen units, if you've used the 9th Tee card and have the right revision of the SW (1.3), using ethernet is as simple as providing the right prefix for dialing (something like *#401) and it'll do the rest.

          With series 2 machines, the USB-ethernet adaptor is recognised, and you're good to go. No hacks needed. I've never had my TiVo connected to a land-line.

          The only time you need a landline for a TiVo any more is a

          • I sure hope this is true now. My Series 2 didn't have the OS revision on it to recognize USB Ethernet adapters. I had to download the revision over a phone line before switching to broadband.

            At least that's what the folks at TiVO told me. It's worked like a charm since.

          • ...have the right revision of the SW (1.3)...

            Since TiVo just loves to send hardware out with ancient versions of the software.

            They're up to, what, v4.0.1 [tivo.com] now?

            v1.3 was obsoleted June of 2001.

    • Well, upon looking to Google for answers, I came up with something [cellsocket.com], but that's quite a few coins ($100 up to $130, depending on model) for such basic (I would think) functionality. And it's Nokia-only, and then works only with certain models.

      Anyone know of anything similar that's more in the, say, $50 range?

  • Neat, but why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Muddie (72996) <larry@@@runswithscissors...com> on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @12:51PM (#7445105) Homepage
    I have (luckily) gotten no telemarketing phone calls on my cell phone, but I was littered with them on my land line. Why would I want my cell number published? Why would I want to pay *extra* to not have it published, and why would I want to pay more in phone company "surcharges" for this "benefit"? [cellphonecarriers.com]

    I ditched my land-line a long time ago, and never missed it. I appreciate the concept, but I think I'd take a pass on this opportunity.

    I understand if you've had your phone number for years why this might be a nice option, but for me (who moves all too frequently, which assisted in my desire to ditch a land line alltogether), this just isn't a factor.
  • by *weasel (174362) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @12:55PM (#7445139)
    are you mad?!?

    one of the few things that makes sole cell ownership preferable to a landline is that the cell companies don't (or can't) sell their registries to telemarketers.

    since i've gone land-line-less ... hell i didn't even -need- the do-not-call registry.

    but if i took my landline number onto my cell service - man i'd be doubly infuriated at any telemarketing - even if it was restricted to traffic allowed by the do-not-call registry.

    (non-profits, political advocacy, and any company who has sold you products or services in the last 18 months -- all cleared to bother you as much as they want.)
  • telemarketers (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fedork (186985)
    I never got any telemarketing calls on my cell phone, but I do get quite a few on my home phone (regardless of do-not-call thing). I am guessing I will start getting them on my cell if I switch the number and will have to waste minutes / be bothered all the time by the telemarketers? No, thanks. Caller ID helps, but only to a degree...
  • My landline and mobile line are one and the same. I just use a 12,450.775 mile long coiley-cord. Available at your local Radio Shack.
  • Bad idea (Score:4, Interesting)

    by afidel (530433) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @12:59PM (#7445188)
    Now telemarketers can no longer screen out cellphone blocks so expect more telemarketing calls on your cellphone as they can correctly claim that they no longer have the ability to tell if a number is a cell number or not.
    • So, your point being? We all need to suffer without portability because the telemarketeers are incompetent?
      • Re:Bad idea (Score:3, Interesting)

        by afidel (530433)
        It has nothing to do with incompetence. As it stands right now cell phone numbers are assigned in blocks, eg 555-123-XXXX and 555-125-XXXX could be cell blocks and 555-124-XXXX could be a land line exchange. All non-retarded telemarketers have a list of exchanges across the country which are designated as cell exchanges and scrub all those numbers from their call lists as one of the first steps. With this change those exchanges won't necessarily be all cell so they can no skip that step, as well you can hav
  • Get ready for... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HomerJayS (721692)
    A $4.99 monthly charge on your phone service with a line item description of "Number Portability Fee". After all, the telcos will certainly claim that they will need to spend billion$ to implement number portability. They will certainly be entitled to recoup their costs.
  • by SomeOtherGuy (179082) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @01:05PM (#7445271) Journal
    Of ditching the land line:

    1.
    Multiple outlets no more. I know when Grandma calls it is nice to have a few of us able to listen in at the same time.

    2.
    TiVo/DSL/BBS's.

    3.
    Emergency Calls. Would suck to not have service/coverage during an emergency.

    4.
    Battery life. (I can choose to not go wireless with a jack or two in the house to ensure dead batteries and misplaced handsets don't ruin the chances of contacting me)

    On the plus side: I am sure the companies that build and sell aftermarket replacement batteries for cell phones love this ruling. At $29 - $59+ a pop -- and a life span of less than a year (of being able to hold a full charge)that equals some big cash.
  • dedicated area code (Score:2, Interesting)

    by thung226 (648591)
    NYC has a dedicated area code of 917 for cell phones... does this mean I can take the (very highly) coveted 212 number and go wireless with it?
  • If you live in one of the top 100 markets (largest cities) you will have number portablity. In smaller area's, say springfield MO where I am, it will be another 6 months to a year.

    Pisses my off because of Cingular's crappy switch from TDMA to GSM has cost me at least one contract because of their network down time. It was less than 45 days at that point until number portablitiy was to take place, so I went to Alltel and they told me it will be at least May, if not next october. I heard that from other

    • Becuase you live in springfield does not mean you cant have it.. I know for a fact that all of cingular's towers in your area are all backhauled to St Louis I believe. Wireless carriers are not like the telco with a switch in every town they're all in the major cities for the most part. We just lease loops to those places. All of which has no impact on the ability of Alltel of Cingular to provide E911 or WLNP to anyone in a remote area. If you're told so I'd bring it up with your local FCC office.
  • Or you could just be like several of my friends and never get a land line, and just use a cell with unlimited minutes as your only phone. Saves bundles of money. The upside is that you can always be reached at that one number. The downside is that you can always be reached at that one number.
  • why SBC introduced that new service that, when your cell phone is in a special cradle, it will forward to your landline phone without a charge against your minutes.

    Probably a way to divert attention or confuse the situation?
  • One caveat: The wired phone you want to switch must be in the wireless carrier's local calling area, as is typically the case.

    If you are moving, port over your wireline number over to your cell phone before you move. This way you get to keep your old phone number even if you move outside the callign area. Of course: this means people in your new area will have to make a long distance call when they call you.

    On a side note: The wireless industry expects 5-6 million numbers to be ported between Nov 24

  • by Joe the Lesser (533425) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @01:19PM (#7445425) Homepage Journal
    Uh, Neo, hate to say this but...
  • 1. Move landline to mobile
    2. Spread your phone number around (surveys etc)
    3. ... (telemarketers)
    4. Profit!
  • Telecom companies HATE HATE HATE number portability because it makes it too easy to switch providers. I expect telecom companies to create barriers to switching in the form of cancellation service fees and minimum-term contracts.

    If you plan to migrate, do it soon before the companies decide to make it expensive to dump them. Also, read any new service contract very carefully.
  • I'd imagine we'll see all kinds of obstacles, although fewer than the cell companies will be throwing up for cell portability. There was a newspaper article that said "expect lots of fees and potential equipment incompatibilities."
  • Hey, I realize the FCC is all-powerful and whatnot, but they certainly didn't approve a "bill". Leave that to our Congress, eh?
  • "The disparity for the Bells lies in the fact that wireless local calling areas are generally much bigger than those of the Bells and may overlap several. So unless the wired phone and the wireless company's equipment are in the same Bell local area, a cell phone customer who switched a number to a wired phone could face toll charges to call next door."

    Translation: the poor big telcos are sad because they can't get away with charging people an arm and a leg to call long distance anymore. Oh, wook, we ma

  • I can still get political and "charity solicitation" calls that I'd have to pay for if they come to my cell. ...no thanks...

  • Yes, that's great until the telemarketers (*ahem* I mean, non-profit charity recordings..) start calling your wireless service because it used to be your landline.
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @02:06PM (#7445995) Homepage
    What's really happening is that control of the phone number database is moving to Verisign. [verisign.com] Verisign runs the largest SS7 network, which handles routing and billing data for US telcos. As with the Internet, lookup and switching are now separated. Phone number lookup now works much like DNS. Verisign doesn't quite have the lock on this they have on ".com", etc., but they're getting there. Number portability will help Verisign, because if both the gaining and losing telco use Verisign, the transfer works better.

    Verisign also handles wiretapping. [verisign.com] If your phone is being wiretapped, Verisign reroutes all your calls (in and out) to a wiretapping center by altering the routing database. From the wiretapping center, the call is then routed to the destination. This allows both interception and, potentially, man-in-the-middle crypto attacks.

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