Monday, June 07, 2010

Finally Time to Cut the Cord?

This isn't a new subject; I've been mulling this over for years, and I've even posted about it before. Today, I also posted about it on Facebook, and I'll ask it here again: Should I get rid of my land line?

Since cell phones got small enough for everyday use (I recall my first Motorola Brick from 15 years ago; it mostly stayed in the car), the land line has become less and less necessary, and now, it's reached the point where it hardly gets used at all. For one thing, I've gotten used to screening calls on my cell phone, to the point where I don't pick up for unfamiliar numbers at all, and won't return calls to them unless the owner leaves a voicemail. Since I don't have the luxury of Caller ID on my house phone (and paying for something that comes free on the cell would indeed be a "luxury"), I never answer it at all, letting the machine take calls instead. It's pretty much become the province of telemarketers and other people I wouldn't want to talk to in the first place.

So what's keeping me from going over the hump, in terms of ditching the land line? Pretty much one thing--emergencies. Meaning two scenarios: 1) Having a 911 emergency at home and not being able to have the operator locate me. I know that "E911" technology is close to being in place for cell phones, but from what I've read, it's not quite there yet. 2) It hasn't happened in years, but I'm concerned about missing the proverbial emergency call in the middle of the night. If I go cell-only, I'd have to keep the phone near the bed and turn the ringer on at night (it's on vibrate all the time because I'm teaching and rehearsing most of the day).

Still, I'm trying to cut costs, and I have to ask myself: "Self, is this type of peace-of-mind worth $33 a month?" Most of the time, the answer is no, but I still have yet to pull the trigger.

There's another angle to this, of course; I noticed it this afternoon when paying my phone bill online (and wondering how long I'd keep doing so). I could go all in with Verizon and start using FiOS for my TV and internet as well; it would be $20 cheaper than I'm paying for cable/internet now, and I'd basically get to keep the land line for no charge (thus kicking this problem down the road for two more years). I'd also be able to watch all my TV channels in HD without paying the cable company even more money than I already am.

So here's what I'd like to know from anyone with experience in this area:
  • Is there anything you can tell me that would nudge me over the top in terms of ditching the land line? Are my concerns unfounded?

  • Have you had any experience with FiOS? If so, how does it compare to regular cable TV?

  • There's a third option here: I can switch to FiOS and ditch my land line as well. Do I really need to agonize over losing the land line for two more years?
Any responses would be appreciated.

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