Sunday, December 8, 2013

Number please?

Some of you may remember that when you wanted to place a phone call, you lifted the receiver and the operator asked you that question.  How many of you still have a landline? I have both a cell and a land line, and may be part of a dwindling group with a landline. How is this relevant to elder law? According to a December 3, 2013 story by Tod Newcombe in Governing about the change from wired to wireless phone technology, it has an impact:

the elderly are also likely to still use landlines and suffer from any drop in service quality... AARP has ... cited a study that showed 94 percent of Pennsylvania residents who are 50 or older are satisfied with their landline service and 54 percent are concerned about affording a landline in the next three years. The same survey showed that 84 percent of rural Pennsylvanians over the age of 50 oppose the deregulation bill.

A significant number of states already have changed their oversight of telecommunications, resulting in less regulation over the newer phone service technologies than historically that over landlines.

AARP has a series of articles regarding the continued availability of landlines, including one from December 3, 2013 about a bill in Michigan that would allow the elimination of landline service in 2017. The David Wallis November 4, 2013 article on Why You Shouldn't Drop Your Landline Just Yet, covers the advantages of a landline in emergencies and in times of weather-related events. The article also references the quality control (one of the concerns offered by opponents of deregulation) that comes with landlines, but not other technologies.  As well, some of the medical monitoring devices are created to work with landlines and there is a question whether they work with the alternatives.

Living in a hurricane-prone state, I'm keeping my landline...and my cell phone. What about you?

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Nashville and Middle Tennessee experienced "the Great Flood" in 2010. I have kept my landline because I have noted that in "times of crisis" (e.g., 9/11) the cell towers become overburdened and few can make a call. Even though having a 78 year old father that is techie conversant (Mac Air, I-phone, I-Pad and I-Pod), I have also encouraged my parents to keep a landline for this very reason.

As a specific note, I have Comcast landline. In the 2010 flood, when AT & T went down (switching station flooded), I still had landline service.

Posted by: Tom N | Dec 9, 2013 11:43:57 AM

How can we give up our land lines? We need them to call our "misplaced" cell phones!

Posted by: Katherine Pearson | Dec 9, 2013 3:09:15 PM

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