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Carriers would be able to replace old copper wires with either fiber or wireless

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is allowing carriers like Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. to conduct trials for digital phone networks instead of the traditional analog versions. 
According to the FCC, it unanimously voted in favor of trials that test a switch from circuit-switch technology to internet protocol-based networks. But the FCC said it isn't testing the new technology itself -- since it's already in use -- but rather, it will test how consumers react to the switch, how it benefits them, how it performs in important situations, etc. 
This could certainly prove to be advantageous for consumers, especially those in rural areas that often complain about little to no connectivity when it comes to their IP-based services. 
The carriers would definitely benefit, as they'd be able to replace old copper wires with either fiber or wireless. This would mean they wouldn't have to continue investing in both old networks and new networks anymore. 

It's not clear when the trials will begin, but they will be voluntary and cover multiple areas with different topologies, weather conditions and population densities/demographics. 

AT&T is just one U.S. company that has been launching a fiber network around the states. For instance, the carrier released its U-verse all-fiber Internet network with GigaPower in Austin, Texas last month, which will deliver initial speeds of 300 megabits-per-second. According to AT&T, its new service will offer upstream speeds 20 times faster than what’s available today, and it will reportedly allow users to download a full HD movie in under two minutes. 

Google is another tech giant implementing its fiber network around the country. It has already gone live in Kansas, Utah and Texas

Source: FCC

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RE: Copper good
By ebakke on 1/31/2014 3:56:47 PM , Rating: 2
The other obvious alternative with an IP phone is to have a backup power source. As you said, unless something severed the utility lines (which is rare) you'll still have a connection at your house. You just need something to power your modem/phone. Perhaps a battery backup if you just need to be able to turn it on once every few hours to make a short call. Perhaps you already have a generator and can just plug in your modem and phone.

RE: Copper good
By sorry dog on 1/31/2014 4:15:09 PM , Rating: 2
IP phone boxes with battery backup is widely available to give a few hours of service without power.

With that said, analog pairs are much more resistant to outages since the complexity, support, and fine tuning is way less than DSL or HFC coax connections. It goes a lot further without additional power as well where coax needs amplifiers every so often that run on battery backups if power is lost.

RE: Copper good
By rudolphna on 1/31/2014 8:43:25 PM , Rating: 2
That only works as long as the system you are running it on has power. For example, in a Cable system, there is generally 60-90 minutes worth of battery backup for the Fiber-Coax Nodes, and the amplifies along the way. Once those backups run out of power, the cable system is offline until the company rolls trucks with generators to power the nodes and various equipment along the way. It depends on how long the power is going to be out.

RE: Copper good
By sorry dog on 2/3/2014 10:03:11 AM , Rating: 2
In a properly maintained system, it's more like 8 to 24 hours... depending on number of LE's on a line.

(LE = line extender)

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