"Indeed, perhaps the clearest sign of the transformation away from POTS and towards a broadband future is that there are probably now more broadband connections than telephone lines in the United States," AT&T adds. And as millions of consumers migrate away from POTS, those who keep it are using it less. Many have a wireless phone, or communicate via instant messaging, blogs, and social network sites.
And that means that revenue from POTS is sinking fast. It dropped from $178.6 billion in 2000 to $130.8 billion in 2007—a trend that AT&T warns is "irreversible." But while the customer base is falling, costs are rising, the telco claims. That's because incumbents have to maintain their PSTNs over progressively skinnier customer bases. All this is sucking up money and hamstringing investment in the "other network," aka the IP broadband system.