Also read Long Live the Landline from the March/April issue.
Landline telephones seem to be falling out of popularity and into obscurity.
According to a survey by the CDC in 2015, over 47% of American homes used only cellular phones. Folks — especially those ages 25 to 34 — are ditching their landlines, but that doesn’t mean you have to follow suit.
There are still plenty of reasons to justify keeping a landline in your home.
1. Cost. Depending on your phone service provider, the cost of a landline might not add up to much on your bill when it is coupled with TV and internet. In fact, some plans can be more expensive if you nix the home phone.
2. Emergencies. Landline phones should work even when you experience a power outage. This could come in handy if you live in an area prone to hurricanes or other inclement weather.
In the event of an emergency that requires a call to 911, the operator will quickly track a call from a landline, but a cellular device cannot necessarily be traced. This may seem absurd in the era of GPS technology, but, according to the FCC, emergency call centers can only track a cellular call to the nearest cell site. Even if the operator can deduce a more specific location from a cellular call, multi-story buildings can present a further challenge to emergency response, whereas a call from a landline phone is easily traced.
3. Quality. Consumer Reports found that sound quality on a cordless home phone was better than any cellular device. This can be a pertinent asset if you spend a significant amount of time on the phone or if you suffer from hearing loss.
4. Simplification. Many people may find they enjoy the ability to use a telephone without the trappings of modern technology. Your landline doesn’t provide a way to play Candy Crush or check your e-mail, but that might be okay at a time when “60 percent of college students admit they may be addicted to their cell phone,” according to a Baylor University study.
5. Security. Home security systems use your telephone line to connect to an emergency call center. Although there are more options for wireless security services, these present similar challenges that cell phones do during storms or in areas with bad signal.
6. Teaching responsibility. If you have children who aren’t quite old enough to have cell phones, maintaining a landline can be a good option for giving them some responsibility and teaching phone manners. Instead of borrowing your cell phone to contact their friends you can encourage them to use the landline. They will have some access without possessing the world at their fingertips.
7. No contract. Many phone service providers offer landline service without a contract. This can be refreshing to anyone who has been trapped in an expensive cellular contract.