According to the Pew Research Center, the percentage of American homes with landlines has dropped to 74 percent — in comparison to its 2001 peak of 97 percent. The number is dropping with increasing speed, and there are plenty of reasons why.
For most households, a cell phone is more useful — and why should you pay two different telephone bills? For others, there are still telephones other than cell phones in the house, but they use VoIP, rather than a line connected by the telephone company. Either way, getting rid of the landline comes down to cost. If you’re thinking about doing the same, here are some things to think about.
Making Sure You’re Ready to Cut the Cord
There are some situations where it makes sense to keep a landline in place, such as when certain family members don’t have cell phones. If you have small children, you certainly don’t need to give them a cell phone of their own, but it can make sense to keep a landline around, if only so that they can dial 911 in an emergency.
Considering that emergency services are one of the stickiest points when it comes to alternatives to the traditional landline, you may also want to wait until technology catches up. For example, with VoIP service, reaching 911 has become much more difficult, simply because you can’t assume that you’ll be directed to your local emergency services number. Most VoIP providers are working to add emergency call routing, however, so this problem may become a non-issue in the future.
Power outages can prove an additional issue, at least for VoIP phones. Cell phones, of course, will still run, provided the battery has been charged. If you’re comfortable with the work-arounds and options that are available to improve upon these issues, you may be ready to get rid of your landline.
Find the Right Combination for Your Household
I haven’t had a landline in my home since 2004 — but for a two-year period, I did keep a fax line. At that time, I was receiving and sending quite a few faxes and it was convenient to keep the line for that purpose. I eventually moved to receiving my faxes online, but I wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t face any problems with any part of my communications set-up.
It makes sense to analyze what you’re using — and how often — before you make the switch. For instance, you may need an improved cell phone plan if you’re getting rid of a landline. You may have to make some significant changes to other plans, as well: many households have telephone lines as a package deal with their cable or internet service. In some cases, you may find that it’s cheaper to keep the line than try to change packages — although you can find a better deal often enough that it’s worth looking.
It can actually take some time to make the transition away from a landline, but if you’re currently paying for expensive features like long-distance calling, the savings will make it worth it.
Do you still own a landline?