Everyone--and I mean every news agency, newspaper, radio station and blog--jumped on the Centers for Disease Control study last week that reported the demise of landlines and concurrent growth of wireless-only homes.
But, hey, unless you live in a cave with bad wireless reception--Can you hear me now?--you already knew landlines were one of the only truly endangered species the current administration actually had kept on the endangered species list, and that more homes were eschewing them for wireless and VoIP. No surprise there.
What everyone missed--and here's the part the big telcos need to jump on with big ad campaigns--was that the CDC found wireless-only adults were more likely to binge drink, smoke, and to not have health insurance than adults who still relied on the tried and true. Think about it … the wireline units of the telcos could launch a huge campaign (albeit not a popular one with their wireless sister firms), backed by real statistics, that while mobile phones make you, well, more mobile, they also could be killing you. They could probably even lobby to get the Surgeon General to require a warning on each new cellphone box:
- Surgeon General's Warning: Use of a cell phone can cause you to binge drink (no surprise there, cowboy, ever notice how when you need a signal you're lucky to have two bars?), smoke (OK, maybe steam when you get the bill) and act irresponsibly (can you say, drive and dial?).
Not only that, but 57% of adults living with unrelated roommates--holy moral turpitude!--were wireless-only users.
So, it's easy to see that cellular telephones can be tied to the rise and fall of the American empire. Or, maybe, not.
As Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Fry writes, a closer look at the numbers show wireless users also are less likely to be obese or diabetic. In other words, they're younger. And there's the rub. Fry is probably the last of a dying (or aging) breed--a thirtysomething who still owns a landline (which he blames on his wife).
I admit it; I also still have a landline (and, no, I'm no longer a thirtysomething … or even a fortysomething, and I can't blame my wife). I've kept my phone out of both a sense of nostalgia--at least it's not rotary--and because I have to. I'm an AT&T customer in an area where to have DSL, which I've had better luck with that the Charter Internet I formerly used, I have to keep its phone service. Which irks me, because I'm pretty happy with the Verizon cell phone service I generally make and receive all of my calls through.
Of course, when I move a few miles down the road next month all of that will change. I'll have options … I'll keep my Verizon wireless service, ditch AT&T and try either Comcast's or Charter's (OK, OK, maybe not the wisest move, but maybe the 3 p.m. slowdown won't be as noticeable as it is now when all the kids on the block come home) for Internet.
I'll be wireless-only--and free to start binge drinking and smoking. Think of all the money I'll save when I drop my health insurance.--Jim