Where do you get most of your phone calls? If you’re like an increasing number of Americans, you’re getting them on a cell phone. That assumes you’re getting an actual call, and not texting. Even at home we’re communicating with devices other than the standard home phone. Email, social media, chat, Skype, and so on, have all lead to the diminished use of telephones plugged into landlines. Indeed, more and more American households are now wireless- only. In Florida for example, 27.3% of that state’s residents do not have a telephone hooked to a landline.
One good reason to keep it
From a budgetary standpoint it makes sense to drop your landline. Why pay for a wired connection when you can simply use your cell phone? The most compelling reason to keep your home phone is 911 service. It is still easier for police, paramedics, and other first responders to find you if you are calling from a landline. Also, if you have a security system a landline is most likely required for it to contact the proper authorities.
Can you hear me now?
Reception is another consideration. Even in heavily urbanized areas, there are dead spots, so be sure you have a strong cell signal inside your home before disconnecting wired service. Consider also that a non-cordless phone, plugged into a landline, does not need electricity or battery power to operate. Often during thunderstorms, electricity can be knocked out, but phone lines remain operational.
Double-check those data rates
If you feel you can safely drop the landline, be sure to check your cell phone provider’s voice and data rates. It may cost you more to go wireless. It’s also a good idea to determine just who you are calling, and who is calling you. If you have friends and relatives calling from out of the area wireless may be the more costly option. However, if you have a good wireless plan the landline might be the less attractive option.
Just the basics
Another option is dropping down to basic phone service to maintain 911 contact and the ability of your alarm system to call for help. You can use a combination of other services to place and receive calls. Skype has become a popular option to phone calls, particularly for those wanting to talk to friends and family overseas. If you’re talking to a fellow Skype user, it’s free to audio or video chat. For a small fee, Skype let’s you call phones. Google Voice functions similarly. Other systems, such as magicJack, also use your computer to make phone calls, but charge an annual fee.
Safety is probably the biggest reason to consider keeping your landline. While it seems a little unfair to pay between $20 and $40 a month just to assure 911 service works, regulators in many states are now requiring that even “dead” phone jacks have the ability to reach 911. Check with your local phone company to see if that is the case in your area.
 Saunders, Jim. “Does ‘landline’ ring a bell? Less and less.” The News Service of Florida. Web. 19 October 2012.
 “Update: About 911 and ‘disconnected’ landlines.” ConsumerReports. Web. 19 October 2012
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