Is this really an 'upgrade'? Aren't they just going to 'switch off the copper'? I assumed it was already VOIP, basically from the street onwards. Surely the only 'cost' they need to recover is no longer being able to charge $10/month for a mumline.
Our household's landline will disappear once the parents/in-laws become more comfortable with one of the myriad voice-only communications services. They're almost there with FaceTime audio, but there's such a slew of competing standards
, it's going to be a while before it's like 'picking up the phone' used to be.
As for powercuts, our copper line is - for all intents and purposes - dead, if/when the power goes out, because we have a cordless landline phone. We have a corded phone in a box in the garage somewhere, but PN's power infrastructure is pretty solid. It's years since we've had any interruption (touch wood).
As long as some people are prepared to pay a fortune for minutes/data, phone companies will continue to milk them. As with Sky, they'd be silly to leave the high-revenue customers' money on the table. Eventually, however, I see mobile following broadband, and becoming combined onto a single all-you-can-eat bill. The telcos are starting to offer crippled/unlimited mobile data plans (no tethering?!) so it's on the way. Eventually we'll get laptops and TVs and toasters with SIM-card slots, and off we'll go.
There was a kerfuffle when analogue TV got turned off, but the world kept turning. VOIP will never be as solid as copper has been, but I expect we'll survive.