Nation Briefs 07-08-14 Four in 10 homes skip landlines and use cellphone only

Published:

ATLANTA -- More American households are ditching their old telephones: four out of 10 only use cellphones, a government survey shows.

That's twice the rate from just five years ago, although the pace of dumping landlines seems to have slowed down in recent years.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been tracking phone use for a decade, and the number of households only using cellphones had been rising by about 5 percentage points each year. Lately, the increases have been smaller and last year it only went up 3 percentage points to 41 percent of U.S. homes.

Why the slight leveling off? Experts could only speculate. The lead researcher on the CDC report, Stephen Blumberg, said it could be people are holding onto their landlines because it is part of their Internet and cable TV package. Or it could mean that we're hitting a ceiling for those people willing to completely abandon landlines, said John Palmer, a researcher at the Autonomous University in Barcelona, Spain, who was not involved in the report.

Wants Duncan's resignation: The nation's largest teachers' union wants Education Secretary Arne Duncan to quit. Delegates of the National Education Association adopted a business item July 4 at its annual convention in Denver that called for his resignation. The vote underscores the long-standing tension between the Obama administration and teachers' unions -- historically a steadfast Democratic ally. A tipping point for some members was Duncan's statement last month in support of a California judge's ruling that struck down tenure and other job protections for the state's public school teachers. In harsh wording, the judge said such laws harm particularly low-income students by saddling them with bad teachers who are almost impossible to fire.

U.S. starts destruction: The Pentagon says the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons on board the U.S. cargo vessel MV Cape Ray began Monday. Army Col. Steve Warren says it will take about 60 days, depending on the weather and sea conditions, to destroy the approximately 600 metric tons of material loaded onto the ship. The chemicals, including mustard gas and the raw materials for sarin nerve gas, are being put through special Field Deployable Hydrolysis Systems in the cargo hold to neutralize them.

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.