Here's yet more evidence that landlines are kaput: The University of Waterloo (UW) is cutting its Bell Canada service for 5,000 landlines in student residences this fall.Charges for landlines are typically bundled into the flat fee UW charges students in residence, explains Sean Van Koughnett, director of new media, adding that the figure was in the low seven figures. "We're taking that money and redirecting it as a one-time shot into outfitting our residences with Wi-Fi in the fall," he tells Network Letter.The 2008 school year will serve as an evaluation of students' actual usage patterns to determine what's required for next year. Currently about 80% of students have their own cell phones, according to Van Koughnett . "This academic year will be a test to see what we need to plan for in 2009. We want to take the opportunity to see what students replace their landline service with," he says.A Rogers dealership is being set up on campus, so Van Koughnett plans to observe if students start buying more minutes, or if they turn to Skype mobile or other options. "If there's a way to get around costs, students will find it," he says. "There's already a VoIP client for the iPhone that allows you to do voice on campus with no call minutes. If costs aren't in line with what students can get on their own elsewhere, even if quality is better with a carrier, they're willing to put up with substandard quality."Using Wi-Fi to bypass landlines or to avoid using mobile minutes has long been talked about, but only recently becoming a reality. In the past month, some carriers have announced service offerings that take advantage of Wi-Fi capabilities with dual-mode handsets. "Rogers Home Calling Zone and Fido Uno allow you to roam seamlessly on Wi-Fi networks, so to the extent universities have Wi-Fi on campus, it makes those plans attractive," says Mark Goldberg, a Toronto-based telecom analyst.But the carriers don't have campus or corporate plans available yet, says Van Koughnett. While UW may consider such plans next year if they're available, he notes students are exceedingly price-sensitive. "For Rogers' consumer service, there's a $15.00 charge that allows you to make unlimited local calls when you're in your home Wi-Fi zone. But I don't know if there's a cost incentive there. Students may turn to a VoIP client that can sit on their cell phone instead to avoid the charge."Many other universities are also casting a baleful eye on their landline charges and looking for alternatives, Van Koughnett notes. "I believe the University of Ottawa and Calgary are going the VoIP phone route. We may end up leapfrogging that stage and opting for something different," he says.Looking at future options for voice has been a part of UW's Media and Mobility project for the past two years. "It's actually been more of an experiment than a project as we've been trying to figure out how we can work with the available technology to suit our needs. It looks like the technology is finally catching up, but it still comes down to cost - I'm not sure the price points are there."Van Koughnett says UW is implementing the infrastructure for indoor Wi-Fi this year, and outdoor will be the next step in 2009. Landline service is definitely on its way out. "We want to put our money into infrastructure that will serve us in the future, instead of wasting it on the past."Goldberg predicts other universities will likely follow UW's lead, since most are investing in Wi-Fi infrastructure. "Carriers have been watching households replace their landlines with mobile for some time, but it's been one line at a time. UW is replacing thousands of lines in one shot."