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AT&T announced this week it will invest $14 billion over the next three years to beef up its wireless and broadband services. The news is good for wireless customers, but could portend the demise of the old fashioned landline phone. AT&T's former wireless logo pictured above.

AT&T says it’s investing $14 billion over the next three years to beef up its wireless and broadband services. It’s another sign that the traditional landline’s days are numbered.

A third of the country has gone cell phone only, and many others are getting their voice service from cable companies or fiber optic connections. So, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told investors yesterday that the company eventually wants out of the traditional business: “We plan to begin an aggressive transition away from legacy TDM technology.”

AT&T is asking the Federal Communications Commission to look into new rules that would let it move beyond the outdated and less profitable wires.

“With one hand they’re saying, look we’ll invest,” says Susan Crawford, who teaches law at Harvard. “With the other hand, they’re saying to the FCC, if you don’t deregulate us, we’ll never invest again.”

Crawford would like to see the government require fiber optic lines for most everyone. AT&T sees a future where customers have access to high speed wireless, broadband, or both.

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