How many years until General Direct Dialed telephony dies?

Discuss.

As I'd posted this poll a week or so back, general direct-dialed telephony, a/k/a PSTN (public switched telephone networks) seem to be in trouble. I think we could be within five years of their total collapse. And no, not just land lines (already about 25% of their peak in much of the US), but _all_ direct-dialed phones: mobile and VOIP included.

The problem, as I'd written before, is paradoxically the _low_ cost of calls. This is inducing tremendous volumes of junk calls, with one ...

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... called "answering machines", and when I was young, you didn't have either. Either you reached someone and left a message, or the number rang (never more than six times unless you were an insensitive clod), or returned a busy signal (ask an old). Fancy-pants people had secretaries who took messages on slips and routed them to you at the office. And all of this increased the costs of phone-based annoyances.

Another side of this is that wired landlines are dying, but costs remain.

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@dredmorbius
or you got 'tu-du-doot', in which case you fat-fingered the wrong number 🤣

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