Why did you get rid of your land phone line?

Off topic in its original thread, moving the conversation here to carry on. [edit] For clarification, when us Yanks say landline, we mean the copper wire the legacy telephone companies own and operate. VOIP is tied to your cable service.

My own reason for dumping the land line was part of a move. Phone company said they could disconnect our current line today, but couldn’t connect the new addresses line for two weeks. The new place was a bit into the sticks, you can’t just run over to the neighbor’s for help in an emergency! Plus, the nearest neighbor was Domino’s pizza founder and well-known asshole Tom Monaghan. I told them to cancel the line at the new address, “you’re not the only game in town anymore”, jumped in my car, went to Best Buy and got my first cell phone. That was in 1999.




Off-topic, but what was the impetus behind the decision to drop the landline?


The 4 of us each have mobile phones; anyone who needs to get in touch with us reaches us that way. We have fiber internet, so the home phone (“land line”) already wasn’t using a copper line anymore (i.e. that would have worked during a power outage). The one entity that still regularly called us at the home phone number was the school district, and I told them to use my mobile number and delete the old one. Then I canceled the home phone – all that was left were the scam callers (“Hello this is Judy with Medicare benefits. Hello? Hello?” “We’ve been trying to reach you about your vehicle’s warranTEE.” etc.). The scam calls aren’t nearly so bad on my mobile phone (and it’s easier to screen when I do get them – my mobile number is from a different area code halfway across the continent; if I see an ostensible number from there that isn’t already in my contacts, then I know not to answer). ETA: the $25 I’m no longer paying for the home phone still buys 2 or 3 lunches, and a sammich is infinitely preferable to answering another scam call, even if only to hit 'em in the ear with the vuvuzela. (And, again, the Pew Research Center never called me, anyway :wink: )


It’s 2024.



I don’t think I know anyone anymore who has a landline.


Scared Jodie Foster GIF by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment


Thanks for taking the time out to answer. It was a decision I never had to make: after moving out to go to college, I got a cell phone, and that was it for me.


Just to give a different perspective on this, when my children were little and we lived in a part of town that had daily brown-outs and frequent black-outs, the landline was crucial. Not only because it was the only way to make calls if there hadn’t been power for a while, but also (and more importantly) back in the day 911 services couldn’t find you if you called from a cell phone. AT&T did everything they could to purposely make the lines work as poorly as possible – leaving the tasty plastic-covered wire connections open to the elements and squirrels, for example – so as soon as the kids were of an age to have cell phones and wouldn’t have reached for the landline if their life depended on it, we got rid of it. But I enjoyed forcing AT&T to have to pay to send out subcontractors (who told me all the tea) repeatedly, because maintaining the old system was a requirement for them to continue to have the monopoly they do, and I was going to hold them to that, thankyouverymuch. It was a minimal $10/month, and there were times I used it, so it wasn’t totally foolish to keep for as long as we did.


My family still has one, along with DSL internet rather than fiber.

For my wife it’s important to have a phone that will still work in the event of a power outage. That’s the reason we haven’t upgraded to fiber despite a whole lot of annoying calls from the phone company encouraging us to do so, plus the DSL speed is just fine for our purposes.


Shoot if I’d known that I may have made a point to get a landline. Though $10/month was a bigger deal when I was in my 20’s :grimacing:


Our landline is fiber now. It should* still work in a power-failure, but only if I can power the box that breaks out the phone line and Internet.

  * for low values of should.


I still have a landline - if I’m ever forced to give a phone number, it’s the landline. Since nobody except “Microsoft Customer Service” calls on the landline I know not to rush to answer it either. Nobody gets the mobile number except the very few and those people know better than to call me when they can just message me.

  1. Had phone service as part of Cable. When I moved I didn’t get another land line. Likely would have good service, but I use my cell phone 100% for personal.

Oh, we have VOIP at the office. That doesn’t count for this, methinks.

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I lived in a neighborhood where theft is the phone cables is a chronic problem. One day the criminais simply ripped out so many cables that the company, which was in financial difficulties at that time, just gave up on repairing them. So I decided to cancel the phone line.

My mother doesn’t suffer from cable theft, but she received so many calls from telemarketing companies and scammers that she unplugged her phone and has been living happily ever since.


My monthly bill for POTS from Ma Bell kept creeping up until it was about $90/mo. The monthly bill amount would fluctuate randomly, too and I’d gotten sick and tired of having to check my bill every month or extra fees and the occasionally added “feature” that I didn’t sign up for.

I happily dumped that in favor of cable VOIP, keeping my old number for the sake of my elderly mother & father, when I switched from bottom-of-the-barrel DSL to cable internet. I was delighted to get phone and very fast internet service for less money than AT&T had been charging just for the phone connection.

After mom & dad passed, I figured that I no longer needed that number, so I dropped the VOIP altogether. My cell phone can do much more than that landline at a much lower cost.


One of the cool things about the copper networks is the complex chain of dependencies that bind together much modern infrastructure. As recently as a decade ago, (and probably in many places to this day) - maintaining a copper landline connection is/was a requirement for credit card processing in retail establishments. While generally digitized, the systems used it as a fall-back, for when the interweb lines weren’t working for some reason. That same connection tech has backward compatibility going all the way to the telegraph era - and all sorts of weird niche non-voice-call uses exist for that backbone, like weather station equipment, fire-alarms etc. Being analog and running no code to speak of, there aren’t the same vulnerabilities and maintenance issues that modern systems have.

So it’s going to be interesting to see how that persists, or doesn’t down the line.


I switched us to voip awhile back, if that counts, but we have the same number we’ve had for decades. If it were just me, I would let it go, but my wife wanted to keep it.


Do people differentiate between copper and VOIP? We still have what I consider a land line but it is VOIP on the cable modem. The reason for the switch from copper is the telephone company kept telling us they were going to stop supporting it and so we consolidated it with our internet from the cable company.

We have relative that prefer to call us on the land line and as with @leidentech I prefer to have a number that is not my cell to give out.


It’s the copper they’re nicking, I suppose?
There’s not so much of that here in the backwaters of the English countryside, but you’ll not find many churches out here with any lead left on the roofs.

Have to edit for context: