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DSL unbundling continues

The number of people using local phone service has been decreasing since 2000.

Year

Active local
lines (millions)

Percent change

1998

180.59

3.5

1999

186.59

3.4

2000

187.58

0.5

2001

179.81

-4.1

2002

172.27

-4.2

Source: Federal Communications Commission

News.com reports that Verizon has begun allowing some customers to buy naked DSL.  The story is framed in the context of second line service being a declining service, due to cell phone competition.  They also report that in 2001 and 2002 the number of active lines serviced by the RBOCs decreased for the first time in a century, due to cell phone replacements of second lines.

Despite ongoing resistance and the increasing importance of service bundles, some believe that the Bells will inevitably face the day when local phone service will no longer be the linchpin to their business.

Later on in the story there are some interesting quotes from various RBOC executives, like this one from SBC:

SBC is also sticking with its strategy to bundle its local phone service along with other offerings at reduced prices. Why would the company “abandon a strategy that’s now penetrated more than half its customer base?” an SBC representative asked.

It’s clear that SBC is going to have some interesting cultural challenges in the new world.

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