Do You Still Have A Landline? Is It POTS? Wait, What’s POTS?

Photo by Adria Berrocal Forcada on Unsplash

Hey there!

I thought I might be one of the last holdouts on having a landline telephone as well as a mobile phone, but it turns out I’m not.

Not even close.

But the term “landline” is changing, from what was POTS (plain old telephone service) to VOIP (voice over internet protocol).

Wha??

Hope this helps!

David

Responses

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  1. I still have a POTS line. I like that it works during blackouts, but 99% of the calls are telemarketing. I want to get rid of it, but my wife wants to keep it.

  2. THANK YOU! Yes, I still have a POTS line, and in my bedroom I have a rotary phone that I’ve had since college. I like the sound of a real bell when the phone rings, the sound quality of the conversations is better than either of our cell phones, and there are no dead zones with a POTS. The only thing that’s a drag with it is that if you have a blackout (like we recently did), the battery backup dies if the event goes on longer than 24 hours, so you lose the landline. I’m gonna hang onto this for as long as I can.

  3. I still have a pots line. I am retired from the phone company. I installed, repaired residential lines as well as maintained the cable (not cable tv, telephone cable). I will keep it as long as I can. Cell service in my area is sketchy.

  4. I no longer have a POTS line. However I believe that if I hooked up a phone to it I would still be able to call 911 if necessary.

  5. Move to rural NH – POTS lines are still the rage! 🙂 I love ours as the call quality is far better than Verizon and, like Craig said, it works during blackouts. If they ever install fiber on our road, I want to see if we can keep the copper for the phone line…

  6. I love my landline! It’s very expensive, for some absurd reason, but I’m not worried about ELF exposure or radiation when using it.

  7. I worked for AT&T bell labs for years. Yes, I very much still have a landline, but it is VoIP, not POTS. Honestly, I’m not even sure POTS is available in this relatively new house.

    1. When we first moved into this house we had three POTS lines, one for us, one for the kids, and one for the computer (I was doing web development in the late 90s).Over the years we dropped two of the lines. Then about 10 years ago we switched the remaining POTS line over to Vonage because my daughter was living in the UK and we could call her for free. We still have the Vonage “land line” because these days I have a bedside Merlin unit that periodically interrogates my heart pacemaker and phones the mother ship. If a future version of the Merlin unit is network friendly, the land line could finally be retired.

  8. Yes, I still have it. During a weeklong power outage, it was a wonderful way to stay connected to the outside world. I don’t want to give it up, but my phone company is phasing them out. 🙁

  9. My wife and I can’t decide on whether to keep our land line or not. Our only cable provider is also our phone and internet provider, and if you take one item away from the package (cable, phone, or internet) the price jumps up considerably for each part taken away. I don’t know how companies can get away with that. Anyway, thanks for the video David.

  10. We decided to get rid of our landline because the only people who seemed to have it were people who called infrequently and telemarketers. The other reason to have it was for faxes which I got infrequently. But the bill for $50/month for this line came very frequently. And at the time, that was the major consideration. We each had cells and internet. It didn’t seem necessary.

    What I miss most was when the power went out (storms happen in Colorado) The only phone that stayed on was the hard-wired rotory phone in the basement. Not even a teltone. Rotory. (Go baby boomers!) The wireless handheld landline phones would go out if the power to the base was lost. But the OLD phone downstairs stayed on. Who knows, we may get it hooked up again. Telco doesn’t know about it and I see no reason to enlighten them.

  11. When my ISP started offering internet and phone for $40 a month it was a no brainer to drop the POTS line. The interesting thing is the internet and phone line both use AT&T infrastructure. Even though I’m billed by my ISP my modem is actually an AT&T modem If there was a problem it’s AT&T who would come out to fix it.

  12. I still use a landline with a push button phone that looks a lot like the old rotary phone. Had a hard time getting a new piece for it when I checked in at the local phone store. Asked for a new receiver cord for the landline and received a blank look and “what’s a receiver cord?” question from the clerk. Aaarrrgghh!

  13. Our area converted to VOIP a few years ago, but I still have the landline–AND a ROTARY desktop phone. Just can’t part with that battleship of an instrument…

  14. David,

    We have 3 rotary dial (old style) phones, 1 touch tone style (same as rotary style), 1 trimline touch tone phone, one Sony touchtone wall phone, an AT & T cordless phone and a princess touch tone phone. One of the rotary phones is a classic black color and has a wire hook up. It is not a working phone (but we love it). We also have 2 iPhone 6S and a flip phone! Not giving up my landline!!

  15. As much as I hate to say it, POTS is dead. The last vestiges are the wires from your home to a pedestal and then on to a Central Office (CO) Switch. From there it’s anybody’s guess. It could be fiber, microwave or VOIP. The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is a mere shadow of its former self.

    Even the CO Sometimes called an Exchange isn’t what it used to be. I don’t think there are any busbar switches left in the country. In fact, now many Exchanges (the first two numbers in your phone number,) are virtual and multiples exist in one office.

    For those of you who have an old POTS line in your home that you no longer use, it is as useless as (insert your favorite euphemism here.) You can connect an old phone to it but it would be dead as a door nail. Your old phones can only work if they are connected to a switch in the CO and are getting an electrical signal—that’s why they work when your power goes out.

    Even if the telco left your line connected (doubtful) your phone is useless unless the switch senses you picked up the receiver and then sends you a Dial Tone. But the phone company only does that if you pay for it—handsomely.

    The old rotary phones were Pulse Dial, unlike TouchTone that used Dual Tone Multi Frequency (DTMF) signals. All a pulse dial phone could send the switch was an On/Off signal (How ironic. They were digital before it was cool.) They were both still analog signals, though. All the way to the person you called—unless it was long distance; then likely it went microwave.

    Taking the receiver off hook (phones used to have those, too,) would interrupt the circuit and tell the switch you wanted to call someone.

    The switch would look for an available line (called trunking) and if it found one, would send a tone to you (dial tone) letting you know you could make a call. (You will note that cellphones don’t have dial tones.) You would then rotate the phone dial and it would make and break the circuit in rapid succession, until it had sent the number you selected on the dial. If you were fast enough, you could dial a number with the switch hook.

  16. Still got a POTS line and an old desk phone (in case of power outage or internet failure) — love it and will never give it up LOL How dare they tell me they won’t service this someday soon!!!! Hmmmmph!

  17. I still have a landline but it’s not POTS it’s VOIP bundled with my tv and internet. Fiber is taking over and more copper circuits are being decommissioned every year. I was talking with some of my radio engineering friends and here in Indy, copper is supposed to be completely gone in the metro by end of 2020. ISDN lines are pretty much gone as well. So it will be fiber or wireless.

  18. I have a POTS line. I have a cell phone, of course, which I use when I hear it ring (usually its buried in my purse) and when I keep it charged and when I can find it (sometimes when it’s not on the charger or in my purse I might leave it where I am when I hang up). Cell phone is great for checking email and directions etc. i use it when I travel, but I don’t know if I could adapt to just cell phone. I guess I could learn to keep it charged, etc. I think the problem is my smartphone is smarter than me.