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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... likely see a reprise of business practices and behaviours during the monopoly-forming period of the early phone system. That will include gamesmanship over protocols, patents, backplanes, and last-mile connections. It's going to be really ugly, probably for a decade or two.

(Assuming there's anyone to connect and any technical way to do so.)

Another possibility is some sort of distributed mesh federated system. I'd like to see that, I have my doubts it will scale particularly well.

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