It seems almost everyone has a cell phone these days, although there are obviously a few holdouts. More people are making the switch to wireless, but land lines might not be a thing of the past.
More Americans are making the transition from land lines to wireless phones. And North Dakota leads the nation in wireless phones per capita. More than 81,000 wireless phones were activated in North Dakota last year, up 18 percent from 2012.
"North Dakota grew 25 percent in our wireless communication in the last year. To my knowledge, there is nowhere else in the country that's growing that fast percentage wise. And I think it's a combination in growth in the state as far as people, but also the technologies are being deployed in the state, because we've got good companies and good people willing to make those investments," says Brian Kalk, Public Service Commission.
For Josh Rohde, it's important to have a wireless phone. As a truck driver, he's on the road for ten to fourteen hours a day.
"If I were to have an accident or if there was some sort of an emergency to come up, I would need a way to get a hold of somebody. Or if I were stuck on the side of the road, I would need my phone to get a hold of anybody for help," says Rohde.
But land lines aren't yet a thing of the past. Some areas of the state still have poor reception. And much like wireless phones, land lines can provide security.
"My husband and I have separate cell providers and neither one of us have service there. And it was kind of an issue where if we needed to get a hold of somebody, we weren't able to. Or if they needed to get a hold of us, they couldn't do that either," says Jessie Pfaff.
And wireless phones actually depend upon the same technology as land lines. When you make a call on your wireless phone, the conversation doesn't travel through space. The message is sent to a tower that uses the same fiber optic cables as land line calls.
"The phones that hang in your wall, if you will, have now converted to the broadband, which businesses still need for speed and the reliability factor is better than cell phones. So, that's all there is to it. So, no. I don't think we're done seeing land lines," says Kalk.
There are more than 780,000 phones in the state, and more than 65 percent are wireless.
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