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Technology

Michael Silence asks Any reason to keep a phone line at home?

Ya know, I still have one. Initially, it was for two reasons. We have a fax machine and a fancy alarm system. Now, the fax machine can be replaced with a wide variety of software or online services. The one we can’t seem to find an online replacement for is the alarm system. It communicates with our service, police, and fire all through the land line. Were it not for that, I would not have a home phone. That’s $70 month could be spent on ammo!

19 Responses to “Technology”

  1. Homer Says:

    We have a local alarm company that offers internet rather than a POTS connection for monitoring; it’s a bad idea, unless your internet provider is a lot more reliable then most. POTS is backed up by batteries, and whenever we’ve lost power in hurricanes we’ve always had a dial tone. Not so for broadband – that’s been out for days at times after storms, and I regularly get the “reconnecting” icon in Windows when the connection fails momentarily, and sometimes my connection to the servers is down for 2+ minutes. That’s not the connection integrity I want for my alarm system.

    And, $70? That must include a bunch of extra features. I have a landline for the alarm system too, dial tone only, no options – $23/mo.

  2. ZerCool Says:

    Homer beat me to it, but message-rate calling plans with no long distance should top out around $20-25… skip the caller ID, skip the voicemail, skip call waiting, no long distance service, etc… When I had a home phone, I kept the ringer turned off and anyone who wanted to talk to me knew to call my mobile.

  3. Robb Allen Says:

    I have Vonage and I know a lot of people have problems with them but my service is rock solid. And I pay $25 a month for every bell and whistle possible including unlimited long distance.

    Also, since I have FIOS, I have TWO battery backups on the Internet lines as well as a backup beneath the phone adapter. I’d have several hours of phone if the power goes off (oddly, none of the cordless phones would work 😉

    I wonder if there is a business model for house alarms that use cellular lines rather than land lines.

  4. Ahab Says:

    They charge $70 bucks?

  5. wizardpc Says:

    my dad had a condo in Tucson that had a cellular alarm

  6. Alan Says:

    I dumped my POTS line years ago. My main phone is the cell. My wife has a Vonage account for talking to her relatives.

    Alarm connection is over the T1 line at the house, which is more reliable than the POTS was. (I don’t live in a city)

    The alarm is just backup for the four dogs though.

  7. Linoge Says:

    I have not had a landline since college, and that was only because the dorms came with it. Of course, no one really ever calls me, and I do not call a whole lot of folks in return, so it works out :).

  8. Tony Says:

    911 is a great reason to keep your phone line. However:

    You should be able to cancel your wire phone service, but still have the phone dial 911 and connect.

    I have personally had everything fail except water and gas, for an entire week. No grid power. No cell. No cable. The wire line worked fine throughout the disruption.

  9. Sebastian-PGP Says:

    I have Platinum, they resell a GE alarm technology that’s cellular. So no need for a landline…it’s $47 a month but I sure do sleep better when I’m not home knowing that I’ll get a call if anything’s going on…

  10. mostly cajun Says:

    One word: Disasters!

    Hard line phone service comes back up faster than VOIP, or so I’ve been told by folks in the middle of Hurricane Ike recovery right now.

  11. Homer Says:

    Robb: RE: cellular for alarms. My alarm has a cell backup in case the phone line gets cut. The alarm company still requires the landline because they test the system daily from their monitoring center (I got a cell call one day from them notifying me of a connection problem. Turned out a phone guy had accidentally disconnected some stuff for a few hours, which included about 30 houses on my street). The cell will call out but not receive until it establishes the connection so it can’t be used as a test path.

    Like ZerCool, my landline phone (just one) doesn’t ring. I tell people if they want to leave me a message call the house, I’ll check the machine now and then; if they actually want to talk to me call the cell.

  12. Madrocketscientist Says:

    My home alarm is on the Cellular System only. It can take a land line, but it also has a 0.5 watt cell transceiver (powerful enough to burn through jamming). The system calls home once a week for updates.

    I pay $50 bucks a month for firm and intrusion alarm monitoring with the Cellular System.

  13. DirtCrashr Says:

    It’s about $17 a month to run the answering machine and screen calls, over %70 is TAXES added to the bill. I hate cell phones but have a pay-as-you-go one, I never use its features and have “texting” disabled.

  14. JohnOC Says:

    ADT offers a cellular-only monitor link for their new security systems. It only raises the monthly fee by about $8.

  15. Sigivald Says:

    I have a POTS line because I have DSL, and because my cell phone is both a) not always charged and b) not a god-damn leash, so I don’t carry it around with me in the house.

  16. T Says:

    Stone age reliability. My landline always works. Even at 2 in the morning when the eye of Ike was dead over my house, I had a dial tone. The cell phones are still not back to usual capacity, depending on your provider.

    Also, Sigivald’s point about it not being a leash apply. When I get home, it goes in the basket with the rest of the pocket clutter. If I hear it, great. If not, oh well.

  17. Dale Osborn Says:

    Here in northeast Ohio we got hammered by the remains of Hurricane Ike. All over Ohio one million homes lost power. In our area, four days later, 40,000 are still without power. A number of homes have switched to VOIP, but they have no power, hence no phone. Old land lines cost money but they usually work when the lights go out.

  18. Manish Says:

    I have POTS as well as a cellphone. I actually like having a landline as I direct non-essential and commercial stuff there. For instance, my dentist has my home phone number as well as my credit card companies. My voicemail emails me when I get a message so it works out pretty good.

    Also, if I want to have an involved conversation with someone, I prefer to call them at home so that I know that I’m talking to them at home and not while they are standing in line at Safeway.

  19. Les Jones Says:

    Unc, we have a landline in Blount County with no options except touchtone (50 cents extra a month) that runs about $22 with tax. We keep it for faxing, 911, in case our cell phones are turned off, and to reduce charges on the cell phone (though that’s no longer a reason now that my wife’s company pays for her cell).