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10 20th-Century Staples We Never Thought Would Die


9
Landlines
This was a staple of many a sitcom: the teenage girl who wouldn't stop talking on the phone. H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images
This was a staple of many a sitcom: the teenage girl who wouldn't stop talking on the phone. H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images

In 2005, 90 percent of American homes had a landline. Today, less than 50 percent do. The situation is similar elsewhere in the world. In the U.K., for example, calls from landlines declined 33 percent from 2010 to 2015, leading internet provider Relish to proclaim they'll be extinct by 2025 [sources: Branagh, Richter].

It's not an alarmist prediction. Younger people use cell phones much more frequently than older folks; more than two-thirds of Americans under the age of 34 live in homes with just a cell phone according to a 2016 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Smartphones are popular due to their portability, versatility and the fact that pesky telemarketers mainly call citizens on landlines. Phone companies themselves are eyeing the trend, with many opting not to update copper landline wiring, seeing it as a waste of time and money [source: Wagner].

Some people keep their landlines only because 911 calls made from a landline are easily traced, as landlines are tied into exact locations. This is true, but with 70 percent of 911 calls coming from cell phones, it may be time to hang up landlines for good [source: Wagner].


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