Columbia Fire Dept. talks about getting rid of landlines

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COLUMBIA - Representatives from the Columbia Fire Department gave a presentation at the Building Construction Codes Commission meeting Monday afternoon. They discussed the possibility of getting rid of telephone landlines in the future.

Assistant Fire Marshal Brian Davison said there would be a widespread impact on the nation if communities eliminated landlines. Davison said the fire alarm systems in homes would have to change if homes scrapped landlines, and that switch in technology would cost extra to the community. Changing two "copper" landline phones to one wireless/cellular unit, for example, would cost between $800 and $1000 per household.

"The expense is recuperated over time," Davison said. "Actually, it is potentially a savings. But there is an upfront cost and it's going to take some planning."

Davison said there were no imminent plans to eliminate landlines any time soon in the city of Columbia, and that these discussions are theoretical and more focused on planning ahead. He used the date 2018 in his presentation as an example.

Davison said phone companies have been calling to eliminate the traditional copper phone lines that have been a communication mainstay for over 50 years. He cited alternatives that have emerged recently such as cellular communication, voice-over Internet, and I.P.   

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