Death of the land line

Eight years ago I hired a software developer in his low 20s, straight out of college. He had a cell phone but no land line at home. It was quite weird at the time, but was the start of a trend. The number of land lines in use in the US has dropped every year since 2000. Newsweek now reports that so far in 2008 the rate of decline has jumped sharply.

In an informal poll, the Newsweek reporter discovered that among his acquaintances under 30, almost none had land lines at home. I can understand why. My family of four has four cell phones and two land lines. Even though cellular service is still one or two orders of magnitude worse than land line service, I’m really wondering why I still have those two land lines at home. The fact that the cell service is worse probably isn’t enough reason to justify having land lines. What are your thoughts? Do you still have land lines at home? If you do, are you thinking of dropping them?

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9 thoughts on “Death of the land line

  1. Mark Rock July 30, 2008 / 1:32 pm

    Are family of 5 has 5 cell phones and we did switch from a land line service to Time Warner phone service, it was my first step in moving away from a land line. Our old phone service was costing us $40 per month, the cable phone service is around $21 and I still have a land line. Next year I will look again and see if I am ready to drop it and give up the family home phone number I have had for 30 years.

  2. Brian Slezak July 30, 2008 / 1:37 pm

    Negative. I dropped my land line shortly after realizing that it received more wrong numbers, advertising, and collections people looking for previous owners, than solicited calls directed at me. At the beginning of this year, my mom converted my dad to a cell phone by force, then dropped their land line . I’m so proud of her. 🙂

    Although I see no land line in our future, my wife has started working from home two days of the week, and we may be forced to choose a cheap VOIP service. In these situations, using a cell phone for frequent business calls would just be too expensive. This also allows her International calls to Indonesia at around $.03/min. I may have to dig the old 2GHz phone out, dust it off and buy some new batteries within this year. 😦 Not a true land line, but a close facsimile.

  3. Nick Nicholaou July 30, 2008 / 1:58 pm

    Hi Clif!

    I dropped our two home land lines a couple of years ago. Cell service in our home is kind of weak– perhaps due to so much WiFi– but it’s worth it. We are saving nearly $1000 annually, and we don’t get interrupted by polling calls, wrong numbers, and telemarketers. (BTW… they were about the only calls we were getting! Everyone else called us on our cell phones!)

    Go for it!

  4. Andrew Conard July 30, 2008 / 2:23 pm

    We did transfer a land line when we moved to our new house, but are pretty quickly thinking about dropping it for many of the reasons that Nick addressed.

  5. Jeff Clinger July 30, 2008 / 10:10 pm

    Heather and I kept a landline in IN, but did not get one when we moved to KS. Haven’t missed it yet.

  6. Jason Gant July 31, 2008 / 12:19 am

    Haven’t had a land line in over 8 years-I think I may have forgotten how to even get one

  7. Tony Dye July 31, 2008 / 9:48 am

    I still have a fixed home number, but it’s now provided by our cable company rather than a Telco. I like the idea of having a number I can give to people, but never have to care if they call it or not. We let an answering machine get all those calls.

  8. Janelle July 31, 2008 / 1:15 pm

    I’m with Gant. Haven’t had one in 8 years.

    Since we moved into our new household though, our reception has been bad for our cell phones (mine’s a Janellular). If we can’t get that remedied, we might end up getting one just for emergency’s sake.

  9. Andrea Beyer August 1, 2008 / 1:44 pm

    We still have one, though my husband would much prefer we didn’t. As we have small kids at home, I insist on a stable home phone… mostly for emergencies. I also refuse to get an easily lost cell phone to replace our home phone while we still have little kids who play with and lose things like cell phones often, and while we have babysitters coming to the house who may or may not have their own cell phone. Again, the emergency factor. I suppose, if everyone in our house had their own phone, I’d probably ditch the land line.

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