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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What we're seeing now is the flipside of this transition. The phone network is becoming anti-aspirational, people don't like making, or receiving, phone calls, in general (though specific exceptions still exist). And the business side is getting increasingly unattractive.

One possibility is that government steps in in some way or another. For numerous reasons, including both old and recent history in the US, this is problematic. Putting the NSA in the driver's seat rankles.

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