25 May 2016

What Good Is a Landline?

This month finds me contemplating getting rid of our landline.  It costs us about $300 a year, with taxes and fees, and seems mainly a vehicle to receive marketing and fundraising calls. Further, for the past year our phone service has been supplied by our cable provider--that is, the landline is more of a "landline."  It won't work when the electricity goes out, which used to be a reason to keep at least one phone plugged into the wall.

When my deaf mother was alive, I couldn't seriously consider getting rid of our landline because the TTY device I used to communicate with her weekly required a landline and I couldn't find an analogous device that would work with a cell phone. I imagine that's because deaf people who use cell phones likely just text each other--the market for those who want to use a cell phone with a TTY must be vanishingly small.

When you Google "should I get rid of my landline?" the chief objections seem related to emergencies.  In our current situation, as I mentioned, we aren't protected from an electrical outage. We have no children, so we don't need to worry about young kids (presumably without their own cellphones) needing to contact someone in a crisis. We generally don't have trouble keeping our phones charged so the "emergency" of running out of battery seems less applicable.  Plus, we have additional devices that can make calls over the Internet (Skype, Facetime) should the phones die. Of course, if the Internet died, we'd be screwed, but that would be true with our current "landline" also.

I didn't see any discussion of my main concern--not wanting to give either of our cell numbers to credit card companies, political and charitable organizations, and so forth.  Also, wanting a number that represents our household as opposed to only my husband or only me.

The answer to that seems to be Google Voice.  So I think this week I am going to take the plunge: get a Google number, let folks know we have a new number, and drop the landline.

(deep breath)

Will update on how it goes.