Do You Really Need a Land-Line Phone?
In one of every five U.S. homes in the U.S., there is no traditional land-line telephone anymore, according to an Associated Press story by Alan Fram. And the share of households that relies only on a cell phone rose rapidly last year, driven in large part by household cost-cutting.
The statistics come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Why do the folks who are charged with figuring out the ways of flu pandemics bother to track the number of cell-only households? It's because cell-only households are not covered by their telephone surveys, reducing the accuracy of the CDC's health studies.
I've been considering cutting the cord myself--or at least drastically reducing my land-line service. Why spend for overlapping phone service when I already have a phone in my pocket? My daughter, who is living away at college, won't consider using anything but her cell. Even my 70-something year-old aunt, who began her career as a Bell Telephone operator, calls me on her cell so she can avoid long-distance charges. (She would be appalled at the idea of doing without the old copper-wire phone, however.)
Reliable access to 911 emergency service is probably the most compelling argument for keeping a land line, but even that is becoming less of an issue. Pete Piringer, spokesman for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue, said most of the new cell phones have GPS technology that enables dispatchers to figure out where callers are. But the switch to the new technology is not complete, and they can have trouble tracing calls to an address if there's a problem such as a dropped call, a dead battery or a caller who simply doesn't know where he is. They have the same problem with internet-based phone services.
Before you cut the cord, you should make sure your cell has the latest GPS technology so emergency responders can find you even if you're too flustered to blurt out your address.
I will admit to one frivolous reason why I would like to keep at least minimal land-line service. I own a reconditioned antique phone from the 1940s, and I would like to continue to hear its bright ring. (Children are shocked at how long it takes to actually dial a phone number.)
Are you ready to cut the cord?
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