How many years until General Direct Dialed telephony dies?


My premise is that the status quo is untenable, and that defections (not having a directly reachable line) will increase, especially among higher SES groups, killing network value.

All whilst service and maintenance costs are increasing.

Paradoxically, low-cost calls are killing the system due to the disutility of junk calls ( ). In areas, particularly the US, robocalls are a plague.

And I suspect the carriers are encouraging this.

Question is: what follows?

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@dredmorbius The problem is the alternatives are all balkanized and shitty.

SMS: Insecure.

Skype: Doesn't work half the time.

FaceTime, iMessage: Works if you and the other person have iPhones (common in the US, only rich people elsewhere).

Discord, WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, Line, etc.: Guess which service any person you want to contact is on. No switching board. Most use phone numbers as their ID.

@mdhughes Pretty much exactly this.

The question is: how do we break out of this local non-optimum?

I see either some community-with-a-comms-need (as with universities and the early Internet) or (maybe) a working federated system emerging (but working, non-fussy, scalable, cheap, not abusable). I don't see either yet.

@dredmorbius The more I think about how to make a switchboard for these, the more it looks like identity services like Google or Facebook, LinkedIn, or even old, and those are horribly abusable, and die faster than the services they connect to.

Half those services allow direct links in, the other half are walled prisons.

The idea of a government-run system working and not being monopolized by one operator (just like phones were by AT&T) is just impossible.

@mdhughes The Directory Problem is a huge one, and it's pretty clear that numerous entrants into online / Web 2.0 space seem to have had this prize in mind. LinkedIn, Plaxo, AoL, Google, and of course, Facebook.

But a single huge directory has problems.

Both postal and telco systems, as well as email, offer potential models for working around this, and the idea of some sort of locality, whether via geography or network topology, would solve a lot of problems.

FB has one locale effectively.

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