Pay More to Keep Your Land Line?

In the age of cell phones, AT&T has raised rates by up to 50 percent on some land line users. Some local Patch readers say land lines are no longer relevant, but others cite their importance in an emergency.


AT&T has been raising rates on land line users up to 50 percent, the Today Show reported Tuesday morning, causing some customers to kiss their land lines goodbye.

We asked Patch Facebook users whether they still had land lines, and whether they were worth paying more. 

No surprise: many had already ditched their land lines. But others said the threat of cell phones going out in an emergency mean land lines are still necessary. 

In their own words, here's what our Facebook users had to say:

From Redwood City-Woodside Patch Facebook:

  • The day that we lose our signals from our cell phones is when we'll think twice about keeping a land line.

From Rohnert Park-Cotati Patch Facebook:

  • Yes, still have one. Pay 50% more? Only if they can block all the telemarketers.

From San Carlos Patch Facebook:

  • No I do not, as of 10 years ago>

From Santa Cruz Patch Facebook:

  • Yes, I'm keeping it. It works when there's a storm and the power goes out. Also, my DSL internet goes through it.
  • We live in a zone that can't get cell service so what will happen to people like me?

From Cupertino Patch Facebook:

  • I have one - the power goes out frequently here and I am always the first to report it on my landline.

From Half Moon Bay Patch Facebook:

  • I prefer our landline! Can't stand talking on my cell... so uncomfortable and annoying! Would I pay 50% more?? NO!

From Mill Valley Patch Facebook

  • I still have a landline because I think it's more reliable than a mobile line (though I have a mobile line, too).

From Mountain View Patch Facebook:

  • Honestly we keep it for emergencies mostly because we are parents. If it were just me, or just us, we might let it go, but with kiddos, well, caution reigns!

From Napa Valley Patch Facebook:

  • No. I do have an old telephone and my cell. No paid landline. Mr Roker's comments are not quite true. You can plug a landline phone into your old jack and still reach emergency services. If your phone is disconnected, you can still call 911. This was part of the original privatization decision for telephone companies and upheld when Bell was split into the RBOCs. 

    During an earthquake or an emergency, you should not be using telephone service for anything short of life threatening issues.

From Pacifica Patch Facebook:

  • What about the elderly? Nobody ever thinks of them. Cell phones are difficult for them. Paying extra because you need a landline is ridiculous..
  • Gotta have a fax number

Are land lines worth the cost? Tell us in the comments below.

Craig Belfor February 13, 2013 at 06:05 AM
I had the first cell phone in Marin in 1985. It cost $4000 and was the size of briefcase. Calls were $6 a minute, dropped calls were still charged, and there was no prorated minutes. It was still a good deal. If you answer a land line, you lose the use of two legs and an arm, and must stand or sit in one place for the duration of the call. This is archaic, and cell phones are the future. In Iceland, every person gets one, so they don't have to keep fixing the wires outside after every ice storm.
tom martell February 13, 2013 at 03:49 PM
wasn't there something called a PUC, government oversight for essential services? how can a company, which is a monopoly, double the rate of their essential service to a vulnerable population?
Wire February 13, 2013 at 04:44 PM
If this climate change is for real the "ICE AGE" will pull down the lines. Not by Fire but by Ice. It's really hard to find a pay phone!
Mike Treleven February 13, 2013 at 04:51 PM
I continue to use a landline because my cell phone drops a lot of calls and gets poor reception. In my case the landline is more consistent than a cell phone.
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau February 13, 2013 at 05:23 PM
There are many reasons that phone companies want to eliminate land lines and raise rates to encourage people to stop using them. The main reason is to sell more cell phone plans that cost far more than a land line. Another reason is maintenance and repair: They have to come to you to fix a land line, but you can only fix a cell phone by bringing it to them. Fisher-Price came out with a line of vintage plastic pre-school toys and one of them was a rotary dial phone with an attached corded headset that sat in a cradle base, all made of different bright colors. Remember those? I watched a parent hand one to a young child who just stared at it in complete puzzlement. The little boy had no idea what it was, and yet tried to use many other different hand-sized objects as a cell phone. It was hilarious and a profound realization of change.
Tina McMillan February 13, 2013 at 05:30 PM
I have my land line provided by Comcast along with internet service. The rates have not increased. The land line gets great service in the house. The AT&T cell phones are useless in the house. Until they find a way to provide consistent cell service throughout Novato, AT&T has no business charging more for land lines.
Pacificat February 13, 2013 at 05:59 PM
"If you answer a land line, you lose the use of two legs and an arm, and must stand or sit in one place for the duration of the call." uh, there are these newfangled cordless phones that let you move around. I think they've only been around since the 70's. And there's even newer things like in-ear phones and something called bluetooth. They also work with land lines.
Pacificat February 13, 2013 at 06:04 PM
I dropped AT&T as my land line and got my phone through Comcast. Technically, phone over cable is not a land line. It's not hard wired, it's not on land. It uses the internet -- VOIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol. My AT&T cell phone is also practically useless in my house.
randy albin February 13, 2013 at 06:29 PM
can anyone remember when there wasn't all of this wireless mumbo-jumbo? these phone companies are gigantic. continue to stir the imagination with these gadgets and devices. rotary phones and landlines are antiques. it you're at a loss for something to do, play around with your tablet or laptop and hope for even better electronics
Vanessa Castañeda (Editor) February 13, 2013 at 06:33 PM
Nope. I've never had a landline. Why tether yourself?
Wire February 13, 2013 at 10:22 PM
Drop your landline go Magicjack Phone Service as long as your DSL works.
Brent Ainsworth February 13, 2013 at 10:50 PM
That cell phone must've looked like it was picked up out of a Vietnam foxhole. Probably weighed 10 pounds, huh?
Wire February 13, 2013 at 10:55 PM
Forgot Magic Jack: Follow-up Review (Phone Service, $20 a year)
Jo March February 13, 2013 at 10:57 PM
We dropped our land line over 5 years ago and have never encountered a situation in which we have needed one.
John Richards February 14, 2013 at 01:14 AM
I got rid of my landline two months ago. I have access to two different cell phones with different providers (T-Mobile and Sprint), so the chance of both going out simultaneously is pretty slim. Besides that, I can communicate over the Internet.
John Richards February 14, 2013 at 01:18 AM
Jim, your cordless phone gives off as much radiation as a cellphone. Also, you can have your old landline number ported to your cellphone.
John Richards February 14, 2013 at 01:22 AM
Well, they have to charge enough to cover their costs. Costs are going up all the time. You can't force a company to operate at a loss.
Dee Baucher February 14, 2013 at 06:42 PM
Phone companies in California (only landlines) are regulated by PUC. So those companies would just assume do away with landline service. Far more profitable to stick with cell phone mega-monopolies (with wireless services for internet and TV) where regulation is lax and masses of consumers can be abused and bilked without interventions.
Bill McGee February 15, 2013 at 10:37 PM
Jim – these new phones today are quite light and thin depending on the make and model. My current phone has one of the larger screens and as my eyesight is not as good as it used to be but my phone still fits comfortably in my front pants pocket. I never cared for having a phone on my belt. As a contractor in a competitive market I need email on my phone and internet for reference. I could choose not to carry a SMART phone and get away with it, but my clients appreciate relatively quick response to emails when appropriate. Most of the emails I get do not require immediate response but I get one or two a day which are time sensitive. Ninety percent of my business is repeat customers so they have come to rely on me to know that I at least read their emails within a couple of hours and will respond quickly when needed. Jim, I am thinking you oppose anything with the name "SMART" (-: SMART train, SMART meters, SMART phones? I see you started posting again as Ricardo Charducci after a lengthy hiatus. Why the two identities?
Bill McGee February 16, 2013 at 06:38 AM
Jim - your suggestion that smartphones are heavy seemed odd so I looked up the specs for your Motorola W755. By the way my friend, the W755 fits just about every common definition of a smartphone so I believe you already own a smartphone. Regardless of what you call the W755, it weighs 3.6 oz. and has a 1.9” display. For comparison the iPhone 5 weighs 3.9 oz. and has a 4” display. My phone the Galaxy S2 weighs 4.1 oz. and has a 4.5” display. Not a huge spread in weight there and far from heavy Jim. Everyone has different preferences and needs so whatever works for the individual is the best choice in my opinion.
Bill McGee February 16, 2013 at 06:41 AM
My first high-tech phone was a Blackberry which was revolutionary for me and my business because I could add all my contacts from my desktop computer to my phone with a mini USB cord and a click. It enabled me to have all my clients, suppliers, sub-contractors, and people within my own company in the phonebook on my cell phone. I almost never have to look-up a number and type digits. Just having all my contacts with me enabled me to unleash myself from the office which made me more efficient. My time is best spent during the day in the field in front of clients, potential new clients, and at jobsites managing projects and our crews. Having a large contact manager on my phone is as important to me as the ability to read, send and receive emails. Those are the two top benefits to me besides being portable. By the way, another tidbit in the land line vs. cell phone issue: With the likely upcoming area code overlay in Marin everyone will soon have to dial 10-digits with every phone call which is going to be a pain from land lines. Cell phones will be less of a hassle as long as you have the area code already entered on every contact on your cell phone; you will not even feel the change.
Buckeye Nut March 09, 2013 at 03:02 PM
The PUCO is in the pocket of utilities..always has been...I haven't seen many instances of the commission denying rate increases.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something