Photo: Matt Reinbold/Creative Commons
Erin and I agree that we have too many phones in our lives. At last count, we now have three active numbers: her cellphone, my cellphone, and our landline. We also had a cellphone exclusively for use in the United States, but decided after discovering a decent roaming package for one of our other phones, that it was unnecessary. I’ve cut that.
In the interests of saving money and cutting down the inconvenience of three phone bills, we’ve given some serious thought to removing one of our three remaining phones. And the phone we’re considering cutting is our home landline.
We don’t use it for much anymore. Chats with the grandparents tend to happen on Skype, and I’ve since discovered that Google allows me to call any phone in North America from my computer for free. We’ve also found the picking up of messages on the home phone to be a chore, since the phone is rarely in our possession, and the ‘message waiting’ indicator isn’t easy to see. On the other hand, I’m carrying my cellphone around me all the time, so I know when a message is awaiting, and these get answered. The grandparents have themselves noticed this, and have started calling my cellphone when they want an answer to their questions quickly.
Cutting the home phone would save over $500 per year. While it would require some adjustments in handling our long distance calling, I don’t think it would alter our lives significantly if it were to disappear. On the other hand, there is the question of how 911 service is handled (911 service is available to cellphones, but is slightly less direct) and I’m also reminded that when Ontario suffered its province-wide blackout in August 2003, the landlines stayed up while the cellphones went down.
So, it’s a quandary: keep a service that we rarely use on the off-chance of another blackout? Or cut the cord? Should we join the ranks of those who now have only cellphones and no landlines? Or should we keep this copper connection to our technological past?