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Ditching the land line

Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:44 pm

So, just bought my mothers house from my siblings. Thinking about ditching the land line. Anybody have pro or con opinions about this? Land line is useless for DSL because too far from switch. Century link unlikely to install fiber any time soon. So, I reluctantly use cable internet. The only things I think I might miss are two:
(1) Emergency services can locate house from land line info. This came in handy when I took care of my mom in hospice at home last year.
(2) I can find my cell phone in the house by calling it. Maybe there is a way to call it from my PC browser?
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Re: Ditching the land line

Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:52 pm

Having grown up when it was not only solely landline, but solely Ma Bell, I'll always keep a landline, at least as they're still copper (c.f. Verizon's attempts to get out of wireline business and replace it with wireless).

Power goes out, phone still works. Until that relationship no longer holds, I'll have a wireline. The old Ma Bell had their own powerplants not part of the general grid; most of that (at least last mile) has survived the breakup.
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Re: Ditching the land line

Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:04 pm

Land line? What's that? (joking)

Reasons I don't have a land line:
    I have perfectly good cell service. I can also make calls while connected to WiFi if cell service sucks.
    In my experience, land line numbers just get sold out to advertisers and soon all you get are spam calls.
    Another expense for something that would only be used in the rare occasion of a freak emergency where my cell phone wouldn't work.
    Nobody talks on the phone anymore anyway. It's all just texting, and tweetering, and chatsnapping

@Ned: Depending on how one's "land line" is handled, it may not actually be immune to power outages. IIRC, Charter land phones just connect via Ethernet to the modem.
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Re: Ditching the land line

Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:18 pm

DPete27 wrote:
@Ned: Depending on how one's "land line" is handled, it may not actually be immune to power outages. IIRC, Charter land phones just connect via Ethernet to the modem.

We're still Ma Bell self-powered copper, but since the company that bought the plant from Verizon is looking to sell, I'm not sure how long that will last.

Oh, and this:

Image
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Re: Ditching the land line

Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:20 pm

If it a true land line (over copper Like Ned has said) Keep it. If its a psuedo-land-line where your phone plugs into some sort of hardware/router thusly making it VOIP ditch it.

That being said I still have a land line.
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Re: Ditching the land line

Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:24 pm

Ditched it a LONG time ago. Cable interent w/ magic jack and prepaid cell for rare/emergency use. Very low cost total per month.
 
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Re: Ditching the land line

Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:37 pm

Transferred (ported) the land line number to Google Voice and use an ObiHai box to present this dial tone to the legacy phones in the house, and Hangouts to access the number from tablets/smartphones/computers.

No justification for paying a monthly fee for a phone number.
 
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Re: Ditching the land line

Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:37 pm

I'd say it depends on your needs. If you don't want to have to rely on your mobile for everything, keep the landline, but switch to a VoIP provider. I've used Ooma for a couple of years now with great success. Normally you can port your number (for a fee, if you want to keep it), and at minimum you just have to pay for the hardware and taxes/fees, which are normally under $5/month, including e911 service.

There are lots of other VoIP providers as well; I only have experience with Ooma, but I can definitely recommend them as long as you have a good internet connection.

If others in your home don't need phone/911 service, you can probably safely ditch the landline, since I think the 911 services on mobile phones are supposed to be able to send your location to the responders. But, you probably want to check on that.
 
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Re: Ditching the land line

Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:21 pm

(1) Emergency services can locate house from land line info. This came in handy when I took care of my mom in hospice at home last year.

Emergency services can triangulate a cell signal too.

(2) I can find my cell phone in the house by calling it. Maybe there is a way to call it from my PC browser?

Android device manager or iCloud can remotely ring your phone, as well as being accurate enough narrow down your search to a quadrant of the house, possibly.
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Re: Ditching the land line

Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:26 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:
Emergency services can triangulate a cell signal too.

You willing to bet your life on that in rural VT with bars that come & go at the house let alone once you get out in the mountains? I've not got multiple visible towers from which to triangulate. Not all of the world is Europe. I dial 911 on the landline and the authorities will be knocking in my front door even if I never say a word (more likely so in that case).

If you want to look at a US State whose topography AND settlement patterns tell cell engineers "yeah, these people are screwed", come to Vermont.
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Re: Ditching the land line

Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:46 pm

tanker27 wrote:
If it a true land line (over copper Like Ned has said) Keep it. If its a psuedo-land-line where your phone plugs into some sort of hardware/router thusly making it VOIP ditch it.

That being said I still have a land line.
It is a true land line over copper.
Chrispy_ wrote:
(1) Emergency services can locate house from land line info. This came in handy when I took care of my mom in hospice at home last year.

Emergency services can triangulate a cell signal too.

(2) I can find my cell phone in the house by calling it. Maybe there is a way to call it from my PC browser?

Android device manager or iCloud can remotely ring your phone, as well as being accurate enough narrow down your search to a quadrant of the house, possibly.
Ah, I knew there had to be a way. The ring tone (we care alot) is loud enough to find it.

At the moment, I never answer it because its always a charity asking for money. :D
The cost for just local service is $33/month. I'm inclined to keep it because it is self powered over copper. When Bresnan/Comcast/Spectrum dropped everybodys internet phones for a few hours, the good old land line still worked. Maybe I can get the phone company to give me even more restricted (cheaper) service.
PFarkas wrote:
Transferred (ported) the land line number to Google Voice and use an ObiHai box to present this dial tone to the legacy phones in the house, and Hangouts to access the number from tablets/smartphones/computers.

No justification for paying a monthly fee for a phone number.
I will check into this also...
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Re: Ditching the land line

Tue Mar 07, 2017 7:02 pm

I pay $27/month for my landline and I will keep it until the day it goes VOIP. The cost is nothing; the reliability is everything.
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Re: Ditching the land line

Tue Mar 07, 2017 7:18 pm

Mr Bill wrote:
Cable internet.... (1) Emergency services can locate house from land line info.

Plug an Ooma Telo into your router, plug your phones into the Telo and cut your bill to less than $5/month.
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Re: Ditching the land line

Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:30 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:
(1) Emergency services can locate house from land line info. This came in handy when I took care of my mom in hospice at home last year.

Emergency services can triangulate a cell signal too.

Not to an exact street address.
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Re: Ditching the land line

Wed Mar 08, 2017 6:29 am

Captain Ned wrote:
Chrispy_ wrote:
Emergency services can triangulate a cell signal too.

You willing to bet your life on that in rural VT with bars that come & go at the house let alone once you get out in the mountains?


I'm presuming that since he calls his mobile to find it in the house, cell coverage in his area is not a problem and that this topic wouldn't even be under consideration if signal strength was a problem.

just brew it! wrote:
Chrispy_ wrote:
Emergency services can triangulate a cell signal too.

Not to an exact street address.


Indeed, not to an exact street address, but if the emergency services are relying solely on your landline for an address things are already pretty bad; That assumes the caller can't speak their address, and if they can't speak the emergency services are more and more frequently abandoning silent calls since 99% of them are mistake dials or abuse of the 911 service. This is what you are now suppsed to do if you cannot speak on the phone when calling 911:
http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/state-911/e911/about-e911/silent-call-procedure-2.html
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Re: Ditching the land line

Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:25 am

I use a wisp and have cut frontier and their crappy phone service and dsl completely out of the loop.
our phone is provided by majic jack with e911 service.

tv is through netflix, hulu, and cbs all access. we save about $50/mo.

I'm thinking of switching to callcentric and google voice. its a little cheaper and spam call are filtered out.
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Re: Ditching the land line

Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:19 am

CScottG wrote:
Ditched it a LONG time ago. Cable interent w/ magic jack and prepaid cell for rare/emergency use. Very low cost total per month.

Exactly the same here. Tracfone BYOP paid yearly (or less since they often goof up phone transfers and add multiple years of service for free) and MagicJack paid 5 years at a time for $99. Normally, this means about $1100 for my wife's cell, my cell and our house phone for 5 years. As mentioned though, service end dates can get shuffled around when activating new phones, so this time around will probably be closer to $500 for 5 years of 2 cell phones and a VOIP line... in a way, you could say that by "upgrading" to a new BYOP phone every couple years, there's a chance of getting a year or more of free service, making a nice 2 year old high end phone basically free.

I know people who spend $300+ per month for a few high end contract phones and $30+ per month for a voip service through their internet provider. That's like $19,000 in 5 years... :o Not saying they aren't allowed to do that, but I'm glad I don't have to pay those bills.

I do like the idea of a landline that is always there as long as the lines are up, but for the added cost its hard to see it paying off outside of extremely odd circumstances. When any cell phone can dial 911 even if it isn't activated, there's less chance of not being able to make some kind of contact in an emergency. Though I guess if you have at least one friend or relative that isn't super far away that has a landline, they can be "that one person" that has one and can be the main communication hub for everyone they know if all of the internet and cellular providers are shut down without affecting the land line networks. Not a bad idea I guess. If I did it myself I'd make all my friends and relatives pitch in to help split the bill for "communication outage insurance". :)

Also, I have a few sets of long range rechargeable (Lithium ion) walky talkies with lots of bells and whistles (literally!), so if it came down to it I'd just use those in an emergency.
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Re: Ditching the land line

Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:22 am

um. I listen to Leo Leport the tech guy and he says you should always try to keep the copper line because businesses want to pressure you into getting rid of it so they can keep you on their service basically. So basically it would be good to keep it for options or emergencies. Just in case.
 
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Re: Ditching the land line

Wed Mar 08, 2017 1:05 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
Having grown up when it was not only solely landline, but solely Ma Bell, I'll always keep a landline, at least as they're still copper (c.f. Verizon's attempts to get out of wireline business and replace it with wireless).

Power goes out, phone still works. Until that relationship no longer holds, I'll have a wireline. The old Ma Bell had their own powerplants not part of the general grid; most of that (at least last mile) has survived the breakup.


Captain, in many parts of the mid-atlantic (and the east coast in general) when power dies, so does the landline, because some upstream chunks of it are fiber-based and go out.

I wouldn't trust that that "copper" line is really copper, so if that's your reasoning I'd get rid of it now.
 
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Re: Ditching the land line

Wed Mar 08, 2017 1:26 pm

Vhalidictes wrote:
Captain, in many parts of the mid-atlantic (and the east coast in general) when power dies, so does the landline, because some upstream chunks of it are fiber-based and go out.


Upstream has racks of batteries + generators, this is true whether copper or fiber because both still require power. (sure, fiber can't transmit it, but, uh, they were never using that copper to power that switching equipment[even when it was human equipment, like in the 50s, they still weren't finding those pegholes in the dark]) Thus the power delivery via copper is really a last-mile only feature.

The situation is thus more of a concern at the end-point, which is why all ONTs have battery backups. :wink:

Hence, I've lost power and still had internet (router thingie from FIOS is on UPS). Yay!
 
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Re: Ditching the land line

Wed Mar 08, 2017 1:43 pm

I moved my parents over to the 400 minute Vonage plan for $12.99 (non-promotional), and then put it on a battery backup along with the modem and router. A copper line would be more reliable, but it should still last a good several hours in the event of a power outage. For what they use it for (probably about 30 minutes each month), just didn't make sense to be spending $50-60.

I went with one of the bigger names, because I didn't want them to mishandle things and lose the number they've had for over 40 years.
 
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Re: Ditching the land line

Wed Mar 08, 2017 1:58 pm

It has been 21 years since I last had a land line.
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Re: Ditching the land line

Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:02 pm

Do you use the landline? I ditched mine when I found I never answered the darn thing but always had voicemails from junk senders, notwithstanding the Do Not Call list. It was worse than useless.

Is your cell service ok where you are located? Does it go out a lot with the mountain location? (I know it's a new house, but if your folks lived there, you should have some idea.)

In the end, it's one more bill and one more set of hardware to hassle with, regardless of the amount. Only you can answer whether it is worth it to you.
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Re: Ditching the land line

Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:16 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:
I'm presuming that since he calls his mobile to find it in the house, cell coverage in his area is not a problem and that this topic wouldn't even be under consideration if signal strength was a problem.

Coverage, yes; triangulation capabilities, not necessarily. OTOH, if you have a specific concern (e.g. an elderly relative or someone with a known health risk) a MedAlert service might be a better value than a land line.

We haven't had a land line in several years. I originally thought it was a good idea and kept it past its shelf life for some of the same reasons listed in this thread: we live in a weird geographic shadow that causes cell reception issues. But in our case there are hundreds of townhomes and apartments in the area, so being unable to contact emergency services is unlikely (and the closest hospital is less than 15 minutes away).
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Re: Ditching the land line

Wed Mar 08, 2017 3:08 pm

Power goes out, phone still works


Not very true anymore, even "rural" area CO's are basically network plants now. It is more like power goes out, CO goes on generator for maybe 8-12 hours unattended (which drives your 'free' dial tone) then too bad. Which is about the same as cell phone service (tower on battery/gen then nope) minus most of the cell benefits. No fuel no service period. The old style build of the bell network is completely gone now, can confirm with any experienced tech.

Examples in action: basically all recent natural disasters of appropriate size.

Ditch that line.
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Re: Ditching the land line

Wed Mar 08, 2017 6:09 pm

One thing I'll say is that I ditched the landline in 2010 and I haven't once regretted it.

I do not miss the junk calls. When I moved house in 2009 I had an analogue handset plugged into the copper and I didn't give out my number to anyone. I didn't even know my own number, I just had a handset to test the line was working and for the apartment block door-entry system to have something to call. 10 calls a week (to voicemail, obs) and they appeared to be targeting the unemployed, injured and elderly.

On a seperate topic, I would like to see any company basing their business model around this practice to see their CEO arrested and imprisoned for deception and extortion of the vulnerable.

But yes. Life without a landline is just better. Whatever legacy reason you can think of to keep it has far superior modern equivalents, usually at a fraction of the cost, too.
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Re: Ditching the land line

Wed Mar 08, 2017 6:55 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:
But yes. Life without a landline is just better. Whatever legacy reason you can think of to keep it has far superior modern equivalents, usually at a fraction of the cost, too.

They might not hold up to the apocalypse, but there IS something to be said for "just pick up and dial" ease of use, especially if you're incapacitated or in a panic. In such situations, you don't want to be fighting with lock screens, tapping the wrong thing, or waiting for a sluggish device. Not being able to find your cell (while in a panic), or having a dead battery can also be an issue.

Another reason would be if you have small children without their own phones (and either unable to access, or unable to operate their parents' devices). In these cases, I would have an easily accessible, CORDED landline in a couple rooms.

I wouldn't pay much for it though, as it's essentially just an emergency device. $12.99 or less sounds about right. I suppose they also come in handy for extended tech-support calls.
 
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Re: Ditching the land line

Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:24 pm

Plug your existing DECT phones into your Ooma and it functions indistinguishably from a land line, except that it's almost free and the sound quality is much better.
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Re: Ditching the land line

Sun Mar 12, 2017 1:32 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:
Plug your existing DECT phones into your Ooma and it functions indistinguishably from a land line, except that it's almost free and the sound quality is much better.


This!

I did just that about 18 months ago and haven't been sorry. AT&T was charging me $60+ per month, which is too much money for something that "might" happen.

Yes, 911 (all cell service) is sometimes lost in the event of a power outage. But not always. EVERY TIME I have lost power to my neighborhood and my house, I've been able to use my cell phone or tablet to report the problem to Duke Energy. And most SOHO business phone systems (like the Uniden system I have at my house) require AC power anyway.

I also figured that if I sold my house and bought another one, odds of getting one with working copper would be very low, so it was time for me to adapt anyhow.

I'm as prepared as possible for extended power outages. I have food, lots of stuff on battery power, and I'm armed.

The fear of having no working phone is overblown, for me at least. Even in hurricanes, the cell towers will often still work, so as long as I can charge my cell phone, I'll have a fighting chance. I keep lots of USB rechargeable battery packs around (and charged). I figure I can go for WEEKS with my 8+ Ryobi 18-volt batteries using this. It can charge up phones and tablets via its USB port. I'm pretty good about keeping things charged up and ready to go.
 
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Re: Ditching the land line

Sun Mar 12, 2017 2:34 pm

being on a wisp I have the router, radio, and wildblue on a 700va ups.

I get about 3 hours run time before power fails.

I could switch to a 1500va ups.

I know the wisp runs their sites on 48v backed by marine batteries I believe they said 12 hours run time along with propane generators on larger sites.

If I ever get a whole house gen I will never loose my land line.
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