Companies try to hold on to declining landline revenue

The image of telcos as simple service providers has been changing as cable and the Internet have battled with them for landlines. Add to that the decline traditional telephone companies have seen in the revenues they earn from landline operations, and it’s no surprise they’re tempted to sell off their least profitable—and most costly—rural lines.

But would they be willing to sell off all their landlines? It’s not out of the question; Verizon’s been selling off lines for years.

Spokesman Bill Kula said the company sold hundreds of thousands of phone lines to other companies in the 1990s and early 2000s. "It's extremely premature for us to talk about whether or not any additional landline properties would be sold," he said. "In terms of would we take a chunk of the land-line phone segment, carve it out into a separate company, it's still speculative."

He said Verizon also is considering offering extremely low-cost land-line phone service -- perhaps for $10 a month or less -- just for emergencies or incoming calls.

AT&T officials said that wired service is no longer limited to voice but includes a growing array of data and video products.

"We are transforming our consumer business from switched voice to customer relationships built on broadband and IP-based services like video, and we're making good progress -- scaling our AT&T U-verse video service and continuing to grow our broadband subscriber base," the company said. "Our traditional access lines, while declining, are still a valuable part of our business."

For more:
- See this story at the Roanoke Times