POTS lines are an endangered species

May 11, 2009 by Garrett Smith

I know the title of this post is telling you something that you probably already know. Unfortunately, not everyone is as informed as you are.

Case in point, Larry Midge at Cnet.

Larry is worried about land lines. His kid’s prefer their cellphones. He even bought one of them Vonage – which they never even used.

And apparently Larry’s kids aren’t alone. Recent research suggests that 20% of all homes in the US are now “cellular only”.

You don’t need Larry’s story or research to know that POTS lines are a thing of the past. Unless you’ve grown-up with one or don’t know alternatives exist, your not likely to look into a POTS line if you need voice service.

But just because POTS lines are declining in popularity and at one point will be extinct, they still have their place.

As Larry pointed out, neither cellphones or VoIP service touts the reliability of a land line. While cellular and VoIP are inching closer in reliability to POTS lines, if the power or network goes out, you won’t be able to use them. Unlike your POTS line.

That’s why it’s recommended by the folks here at the VoIP Insider that residents and businesses switching to VoIP consider keeping a POTS line (or more) for fail over purposes.

In most cases the price points for VoIP service is such that one keep a basic POTS line ($9.99 – $15.99 plan) that provides per minute dial tone (or local calling)still provides considerable monthly cost savings. This is especially true for businesses.

So yes Larry, POTS lines are an endangered species. But at least they’re not extinct.


  • With those price points a POTS line would make sense, however in Ontario (Canada), a Roger’s home phone is about $30-$35 a month, and a landline from Bell Canada is $100 installation (perhaps more now), and probably about $25 a month minimum, and that doesn’t include a long distance plan, or anything extra (such as callerID).

  • Garrett Smith

    @ Leif

    Interesting. A few of my family members have per minute local dial tone plans that cost them about $9.99 – $15 USD per month.

    They’re used in conjunction with an SPA3102 for fail over purposes. It’s a really nice set-up for them as they’ve decreased their total phone bill about 50% (from around $75 USD to $35 – $40).

  • Randy

    Cost in Massachusetts is > $20. Fees and taxes are more than 100% of the base.

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