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Old 08-30-2011, 03:47 PM   #21
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#2 makes a lot of sense. #1, not so much...
And even then, keeping a land line that costs $30 a month just because you have the phone company's DSL service doesn't make sense if they offer "naked" DSL for no more than $5-10 a month more than it would be with a phone plan.
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Old 08-30-2011, 03:49 PM   #22
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Also I'd add that your cell phones are powered and need to be recharged. This could be a problem if you don't have a backup alternative.

We have cordless landline phones but that's why I keep an old phone around that doesn't require charging (gets power from the telephone loop).
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Old 08-30-2011, 03:59 PM   #23
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Also I'd add that your cell phones are powered and need to be recharged. This could be a problem if you don't have a backup alternative.
Good point - that's one of the reasons we have a portable generator although it is easier to charge the phone from the car.

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We have cordless landline phones but that's why I keep an old phone around that doesn't require charging (gets power from the telephone loop).
Even though I'm one of those geezers who is supposed to cling to copper wires to the bitter end, I'm not a fan of land line phones. We live in a rural area and our land line reliability was the pits. I was happy to say goodbye to the bill and the frustration of picking up the phone, not hearing a dial tone, and dealing with "Ernestine" at the phone company.
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Old 08-30-2011, 04:01 PM   #24
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...and dealing with "Ernestine" at the phone company.
We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company.

Of course, in this day and age where dropping the land line and going only with cell phones (or other voice over IP service) is an option, maybe they need to start caring...
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Old 08-30-2011, 04:02 PM   #25
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25 years ago it might have made sense to have a landline as a backup for emergencies, but these days there is so much computer hardware and software between you and a dial tone that I doubt if it's more likely to survive than the mobile network. Heck, there's pretty good mobile coverage in Afghanistan.
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Old 08-30-2011, 04:04 PM   #26
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Also I'd add that your cell phones are powered and need to be recharged. This could be a problem if you don't have a backup alternative.

We have cordless landline phones but that's why I keep an old phone around that doesn't require charging (gets power from the telephone loop).
When we were without power for almost a week this spring, our old corded phone and the landline really helped with DW's business. We were trying to conserve batteries on our cell phones and redirected all business calls to the landline.
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Old 08-30-2011, 04:08 PM   #27
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We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company.

Of course, in this day and age where dropping the land line and going only with cell phones (or other voice over IP service) is an option, maybe they need to start caring...
Earlier this year copper thieves climbed the utility poles and carted off several hundred feet of phone cable in the subdivision adjoining ours. They were without land line phone service for more than a week.

"We're aware of the problem and we have our best people working on it."
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Old 08-30-2011, 04:09 PM   #28
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We actually received cash money for turning in people who illegally called us even though we were on the do not call list. This was in CA about year 2005. I think it was $70 or so.
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:02 PM   #29
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Would a land line really be more reliable in an earthquake than a cell phone?

I'm not in earthquake country and haven't given it much thought, but it would seem miles and miles of wires strung between poles would be far more vulnerable to damage than individual (hopefully reinforced) towers with backup generators. Or am I missing something?
The risk to the cell phone system isn't the towers. It's the users. One little shake or similar event, and millions of users whip out their phones at the same time, slamming the cellular network to max capacity.

Landline phones have a capacity limit, too, but it shows up on the trunk lines between major exchange areas, and not so much on local calls. In the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, calls within exchanges and between nearby exchanges largely went through, but out-of-area callers got the dreaded "please try your call again later" message.

We get plenty of 'bot calls. Many of the commercial calls have silence on the line until I say something, and then with confirmation that they've reached a meatbag, rather than a fax or other 'bot, the spiel starts. Especially fancy systems connect me to a human being, for whom I have my scripts ready (Do Not Call violation, and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act stuff for the collection agency 'wrong numbers') for fun and profit.

I wonder if, with alternate communications channels (texting, VOIP, etc) coming into wider and wider use, if voice telephony will wind up like the postal service, mostly 'bulk rate' junk calls.
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:59 PM   #30
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Bare DSL and VOIP are the way to go. Nobody calls my Magic Jack number except people I've given the number to. I imagine NetTalk is the same.
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:16 PM   #31
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Landline phones have a capacity limit, too, but it shows up on the trunk lines between major exchange areas, and not so much on local calls. In the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, calls within exchanges and between nearby exchanges largely went through, but out-of-area callers got the dreaded "please try your call again later" message.
Good point about how landline phones can get overloaded and the way they get overloaded.

Back in 1982 my college roommate from from St. Louis and when he tried to call his family back home after the Cardinals won the World Series it took him a while to get through.

And back on 9/11/01, I got stranded in New Jersey and it took me a while to use my friend's landline to call my dad on Long Island to let him know I was okay.
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:40 PM   #32
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......
Landline phones have a capacity limit, too, but it shows up on the trunk lines between major exchange areas, and not so much on local calls. In the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, calls within exchanges and between nearby exchanges largely went through, but out-of-area callers got the dreaded "please try your call again later" message......
Note that if you go very far on a cell phone you transfer to the same infrastructure to run between the towers involved. So that if you have congestion on non local calls it will affect both cell and landline calls. Essentially the cell towers are terminals where the call goes to large capacity land lines to switching centers, which then figure out which tower to go to and then route the call over the fiber infrastructure to get there. In addition it is possible for a land line exchange to overload if to many people pick up the phone at once, there is a detailed system to determine what the max number of calls an exchange should be capable of handling. The same applies to interexchange calling also. Recall that it used to be said to not make long distance calls on mothers day because it overloaded the system.
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:15 PM   #33
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There is a difference between wanting to make a call to communicate with friends during an emergency (I'm OK, how about you?) and being able to communicate many hours after the shock hits. If the emergency lasts 3 days or more your power source for communications is probably going to be more important. BTW, we live in an area zoned red for earthquakes -- our earthquake insurance rates are high. And what about WW3? Just kidding on that one.

It might get pretty lonely for DW and myself being on the edge of a city -- what do I do if I drop the landline and it really would have helped? Is anyone here going to compensate me for the problems I might encounter? In the end, it's my responsibility to make the right decision. Kind of like investing, are any of those Bogleheads going to top off my account if it goes into the tank because of their opinions that I followed?

Note: I'm no authority on this but need to be convinced before shutting down our landline connection. Most of us have only a vague idea of the true disaster scenarios. Must be some thorough studies out there somewhere on this.
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:41 PM   #34
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There is a difference between wanting to make a call to communicate with friends during an emergency (I'm OK, how about you?) and being able to communicate many hours after the shock hits. If the emergency lasts 3 days or more your power source for communications is probably going to be more important. BTW, we live in an area zoned red for earthquakes --

Note: I'm no authority on this but need to be convinced before shutting down our landline connection. Most of us have only a vague idea of the true disaster scenarios. Must be some thorough studies out there somewhere on this.
I agree you should keep your land line. Maybe purchase a CB radio you could plug into your car as a tertiary means of communication if the big one does realign the coastline.
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:51 AM   #35
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I had the need to review "Lessons Learned" from Haiti and Japan incidents. SMS Texting was the most successful communications form.
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:49 PM   #36
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I agree you should keep your land line. Maybe purchase a CB radio you could plug into your car as a tertiary means of communication if the big one does realign the coastline.
Hmmm - I remember the crab and shrimp fishermen who had a combo cell/radio service - out on the water if they hit a dead zone they flipped a switch and used the radio. One guy showed how he could talk from Lake Ponchartrain to Grand Isle - a fair amount of miles.

heh heh heh - If I tryed to name the service my memory would probably get it wrong.
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Old 08-31-2011, 02:47 PM   #37
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Note: I'm no authority on this but need to be convinced before shutting down our landline connection. Most of us have only a vague idea of the true disaster scenarios. Must be some thorough studies out there somewhere on this.
I'm with you (I'm a belt, suspender and duct tape kind of guy )...

Heck, during Sunday/Monday (when our electric was out 25+ hours) I recharged my cell by plugging into my car. However that made little sense since I could not hear it for any incomming calls since the car was parked in the driveway (I tried to drive it into the family room, but it would not fit ).

Our landline (on two direct connect - non wireless handsets) worked fine...
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Old 08-31-2011, 02:56 PM   #38
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I guess you need caller ID for this. We have ATT for the landline and they want $10/month for caller ID. We could afford this but it seems like extortion to have to pay for such a simple feature. Any cheaper way of doing this?
Switch to Verizon, add TV and interrnet for only $200/mo.
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Old 08-31-2011, 03:20 PM   #39
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Switch to Verizon, add TV and interrnet for only $200/mo.
... for small values of cheaper...
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Old 08-31-2011, 03:45 PM   #40
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I'm with you (I'm a belt, suspender and duct tape kind of guy )...

Heck, during Sunday/Monday (when our electric was out 25+ hours) I recharged my cell by plugging into my car. However that made little sense since I could not hear it for any incomming calls since the car was parked in the driveway (I tried to drive it into the family room, but it would not fit ).

Our landline (on two direct connect - non wireless handsets) worked fine...
Same here. My landline phone purchased for emergencies when we do not have power worked just fine while without power from Hurricane Irene. I also bought a battery powered cell phone charger from Radio Shack....so I would not have to charge my cell in my car. That worked fine too. I was gad to have both.
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