The telecom industry loves to insult landlines as “POTS” — “Plain Old Telephone Service.” The truth is that there is still no better substitute for the analog landline telephone network, which remains a crucial communication technology.
Here are some of the issues at stake:
Access in an Emergency: Landlines provide reliable location-specific data to emergency 911 operators. In a major disaster when the electricity goes out (and with it, cell towers, cell phones, and computers) landlines are often the only option remaining. More—>
Lower Health Risks: Landlines do not carry the same health risks as cell phones, which emit RF microwave radiation that the WHO says may cause cancer, and is associated with brain tumors. More—>
Higher Voice Quality: Analog landlines remain the highest quality voice option hands down. It is not “progress” to rip out the highest quality network, and replace it with inferior options prone to static, interference, and dropped calls.
Universal Access: Landlines provide basic communications services to everybody including seniors, rural residents, and those in prison. Eliminating this lifeline would leave those without other options disconnected, and isolated.
Solid Union Jobs: Telecom companies are not only discontinuing landline service, but all the good union jobs that go with it, including technicians who repair and install the infrastructure, and operators at the switching station who route collect calls and help people in trouble.
Affordability: Unlike landlines, cell phones and VOIP options are not as regulated and costs for the consumer (and profits for the corporation) are higher. Even worse, the same levels of reliability are not guaranteed, and telecom companies are already bullying and deceiving residents into accepting alternatives to landlines.
Security and Hackability: Digital data over VOIP or cellphones is hackable from anywhere, while transmissions over wire can only be intercepted by direct physical access. Internet connected phones are especially vulnerable to Caller ID spoofing scams that impersonate businesses and agencies to defraud people.