Announced in an email distributed to existing DSL subscribers, Verizon will start bundling local voice service with all new subscriptions to the company’s DSL high speed Internet service starting on May 6, 2012. In addition to brand new subscribers, Verizon categorizes anyone that wants to make a change to their existing DSL service as a “new subscriber.” For instance, if a current subscriber calls Verizon to notify the company that they will be moving to a new residence, that subscriber will be forced to pay for a landline after the move. If a subscriber calls Verizon to upgrade or downgrade the speed of the Internet connection on their current plan, they will be paying for a new landline if they decide to continue with Verizon DSL.
The email also indicates unspecified discounts will be included when bundling the DSL and landline service with DirecTV service as well as a subscription to Verizon Wireless service. Of course, encouraging users to bundle a landline with a Verizon cell phone plan would be moving against the current trend of people dumping home phones for mobile-only households.
According to a 2011 study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, the amount of people that went to a cellphone-only household jumped from 13.6 percent in 2007 to 26.6 percent by June 2010. If the percentage continues to grow at the same rate, the amount of households that ditch landlines could reach 40 to 50 percent of all U.S. homes by 2013.
During the past year, Verizon reported a eight percent decline in the amount of people that subscribe to local voice service and attributed that loss to people relying exclusively on a wireless phone as well as people utilizing Internet service to communicate with software like Skype or hardware like the popular MagicJack. As mentioned by PCWorld, the inclusion of the landline as a bundled service is expected to increase the average Verizon DSL bill by five dollars for the basic local voice service.