My sister recently posed the question on Facebook and was deluged with opinions from both sides of the fence. Arguments came flying at her to keep or ditch the landline, particularly centered around the pros and cons as a mother of a 7-year-old child. The cost savings would not be trivial, especially considering the duplicity of paying for both a landline and cellular service, but there were other factors to consider whether cutting the landline really made the most sense...
Cutting the land line would trim somewhere around $600 from my sister's annual expenses. But some friends and family argued via Facebook that connectivity and connection quality of landline alternatives like the Magic Jack or other inexpensive landline replacements were not as dependable as an old fashioned landline connection.
The argument was VOIP and cellular options were unstable and unreliable. VoIP services like Vonage and Skype rely on both a reliable internet connection and electrical power, both of which could easily go out during an emergency (or all the time, depending on where you live and who your providers are). Cell phones require a charge and a steady signal to make a call. Corded telephones on the other hand receive their power through the phone line and usually would work when the electrical grid is out during an emergency.
But how many households still use a corded telephone any longer? Sure, the suggestion to keep a single corded phone in the home for emergencies seems pre-cautiously prudent, but in small apartments where phone jacks are sparse and space is a premium, the extra phone seems a tough sell.
For the elderly and young children, ease of use can be an arguable concern. Some amongst the senior demographic still steer away from hi-tech gadgetry with complex user interfaces, making a land line the preferrable option. While this may be true for any given segment of the population, young or old, there are many simple feature cell phones available for easier emergency dialing easier.
In my sister's case, her 7-year-old is fully capable of using a cellphone (go ahead and try prying Nimble Quest away from him). Her child is never home alone, so he always has an adult nearby knowing of his whereabouts. Neighbors were notified in advance so in case of an emergency, she could call upon their aid instead of just depending upon a phone.
Speaking of emergencies, our guide to 911 emergency calls in a modern wireless world explains the truth and tips on how to handle emergencies from a cell phone. These and other cheap pay-as-you-go cell phones were recommended by my sister's friends to keep on hand for my nephew to access in case of an emergency.
So is it safe to get rid of a landline with a child in the home? My sister has come to the conclusion cutting the land line will be fine for both her and her son, and I tend to agree. But everyone has a different story, where geographic location, signal strength, and even local community support can factor in, so one should evaluate their own needs carefully.
We'd love to hear our readers weigh in - let us know your thoughts and what you've done as well!
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