Does anyone even still have a landline anymore? If you've flipped through a tech magazine any time in the past five years, you've probably read at least a few obituaries for the humble home phone. With the advent of smartphones and the advancement of Internet telephony, traditional home phones may seem to be going the way of the telegram, but many people do still rely on plain old telephone service (POTS).
For every strike against the traditional landline, an equally convincing argument can be made in its defense. The move away from landlines presents a challenge to emergency services, which can't track 911 calls to cell phones as easily as home phones. When you dial 911 from a home phone, the 911 dispatch center tracks the call to a physical address, whereas calls from cell phones give them approximate latitude and longitude reading (which can be especially difficult if you live in a tall apartment building, for example). That alone is a good reason to hold onto the home phone, but it isn't the only one [source: Weisbaum].
Over the past decade, the number of households with home phone service has dropped dramatically in the U.S. In 2010, more than 26 percent of U.S. homes opted to do away with the landline altogether -- up from just 13.6 percent in 2007 -- relying entirely on cell service [source: Snider]. At the same time that more Americans have moved away from plain old local phone service, the price of keeping a dial tone has been steadily creeping upward in recent years. Standard local phone service typically costs between about $20 and $30 per month, and add-ons like long distance, call waiting and caller ID can bring the price much higher. However, the old fashioned home phone is still widely used, and it still holds some advantages over emerging technologies.
In this article, we'll explore the many ways you can keep a landline at home without breaking the bank. For tips on budgeting your home phone service, read on.