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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... was co-developed by the US Military, who needed a highly-resilient communications network, and US academics, who wanted a cheap one. Features including file transfer, remote access, email, group communications via Usenet, and the Web grew from this and similar (Cern/WWW) requirements.

The careful reader will note that I've not mentioned who lead in early adoption of the telephone, and truth is I don't know -- information isn't clearly available at least on brief search. Though ...

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