The number of consumers using voice services over their broadband connections grew by five million in 2009 while the number of traditional local phone lines decreased by 10 percent, according to a new report from the Federal Communications Commission.
Interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services are offered by cable and telephone companies such as Vonage and Comcast to enable consumers to use their broadband connections to place and receive phone calls like a traditional phone service.
As of December 2009 there were 127 million traditional switched-access phone lines in service and 26 million interconnected VoIP subscribers. The latter figure grew 22 percent during 2009, with the vast majority being residential subscriptions.
According to the report, the increase in VoIP subscribers is not enough to offset the decline in local phone lines, which is mainly attributed to the public's increasing reliance on wireless devices as their primary phone lines. Eighty-seven percent of VoIP subscribers relied on cable modems, while only 13 percent had DSL, fiber optic or other wired connections.