Can we talk? Giving up the Landline phone

Lose Remerswaal

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Thinking about dumping the old Verizon landline. Last straw (after determining that more than half our incoming calls are spam) is that they need to upgrade us to Fiber Optic or our phone will be shut off. And I need to take a half day off to let them do this.

Concerns:

1) we like that a landline works in a power failure. We were without power for 3+ days last year but our phone never stopped working
2) we need to be reachable if an elderly parent has a middle of the night emergency. We could charge our cells upstairs but fear forgetting them there during the day (right now they charge by the front door), plus the many other sounds they make all night could be disturbing .

Possible solution: we have Comcast Triple Play, with a rarely used VOIP phone hooked up to it. I googled and could not determine if you can easily add extensions to a Comcast VOIP phone . If that is doable, I think we have a solution, except for the power failure issue.

Appreciate the expertise.
 

NortheasternPJ

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I haven't had one in a long while, but i believe all of the Comcast Triple Play modems have a battery backup.

In terms of your cell phone, just use "Do Not Disturb" if you have an iPhone. You can set it to basically mute itself at night unless a favorite calls, someone calls twice a row or other options.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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That's a good step, but remembering to take the phones if charged upstairs is still an issue.

Not sure how the modem battery backup makes itself. That phone was dead as soon as the lights went out last year
 

canderson

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Just buy a couple Ankler (or whatever) USB portable battery packs for your phones. Your car can charge them too.
 

Red Averages

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A - Use do not disturb on your phone as NPJ says
B - you can get multiple cell phone charges for <$20 including a mobile charger. That should solve your fear about being without power. You can also charge a phone in a car, with a laptop etc etc, if you needed. I bought this charger, which also includes a flashlight for your power fears. "
"Portable Charger Jackery Bolt 6000" on amazon. Somehow I can't link to it.
C - Profit from not having to answer the ridiculous spam calls.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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The cell problem is not an issue if I can have an extension for my Xfinity phone.

I can't use the Do Not Disturb function if I need it to ring in an emergency. With 3 parents over 80, we need to be able to hear a phone at night. Just not Ray, from the carpet cleaning company.
 

grantb

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Wait, you have both a Verizon land line and a Comcast VOIP? Transfer your landline number to the Comcast and kill the Verizon. Frankly, the power loss fears are a weird reason to keep a landline in the modern world -- you're paying how much for ~3 days of landline availability a year while you have the cell phone already
Or, if you want to go wild and really save some dough, kill the Comcast and Verizon, transfer the number you want to another low-cost VOIP provider (there are tons, and you can even get your landline and cell phones to ring both phones), and get 100mbs FiOS internet for $40/month. I'm guessing that'd save you upwards of, what $1,200 a year, or $600 if you get something like YouTube TV.
 

Rudi Fingers

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Also, buy a good quality UPS (uninterruptible power supply - from a company like APC or CyberPower), and plug your cable modem / wifi router into it. There are sometimes power outages that don't affect the cable signal, and you can maintain phone (and internet) connectivity during these outages (I have had two of these over the past year). Even if your "Triple play" modem has a battery backup already, the UPS will extend the downtime significantly. Many models also have USB ports so you can use its big lead-acid battery to charge up cell phones. I own an APC BE600M1, which runs around $60.
 

Joe Sixpack

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The cell problem is not an issue if I can have an extension for my Xfinity phone.

I can't use the Do Not Disturb function if I need it to ring in an emergency. With 3 parents over 80, we need to be able to hear a phone at night. Just not Ray, from the carpet cleaning company.
You can set it to ring if your parents call but not the carpet cleaning company.
 

bohous

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You could get a burner cell phone to keep plugged in in your room. Tracfone still has dumbphone plans w/o data where you can buy just airtime + text for $99/yr.
 

Red Sox Physicist

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Verizon FIOS fiber has battery backup for phone. The ONT (optical network terminator - the box they put in that connects to the fiber) used to have battery backup units with lead acid batteries in them. The batteries lasted about 3 years and then would incessantly beep until replaced. Some of the old ONT power supplies wouldn't work without the battery in place. Verizon stopped using those because of too many service calls. Now, they use a power supply that takes D batteries for phone backup in a power failure. I haven't had landline phone service in over a decade though, so I've never had to use the battery backup.

In any case, you can get a battery backup for Comcast VoIP as well. I wouldn't bother paying for two phones.
 

InstaFace

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the "sounds they make all night" is part of the problem. Uninstall apps. Turn off automatic sounds for most notifications. I get a brief buzz for a text message and full sound for a phone call (Vibrate during day / work), but other apps are pretty well trained at this point not to send notifications. I've seen my mom's phone, my niece has installed like 50 mobile games on it and it makes some random-ass noise every 2 minutes. That is a nightmare, and an avoidable one. Uninstall shit, or turn it off.

Having done so, the only other behavior change you need is to carry your phone with you wherever you go. Going to bed? Bring phone. Getting up in the morning? Bring phone downstairs. Walking out the door? Check pockets for wallet, keys, and phone. You don't have to be staring at the thing every moment of every day, but there's a reason that Kids These Days have it with them literally everywhere they go, and it's because it's damned essential to do so.

I have a fast USB-C charger in the kitchen, going from 10% to 95% takes about 25-30 mins. I charge in the morning when making lunch for the kids, sometimes if I'm really low I charge in the evening while puttering around, and it sits idle on my nightstand overnight. Lots of people I know have a second charger in their bedroom. It really doesn't take much to get your charging in - the only thing you need is to take it with you when changing locations. And you're a guy, your clothes have real pockets. This won't be that hard.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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So can I get extensions on my VOIO Xfinity phone?
I don't want to move my landline number over, even though it is a "cool" number, as that wont help with the spam. And I think I can use nomorobo with the Xfinity phone.

That solves all my (phone) problems
 

HriniakPosterChild

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Suppose you get a battery backup for the Comcast box in your home. How does that help you when there is a power failure at Comcast's headend?

I have a generator in my house, but I lose Comcast Internet when I lose power.

Nomorobo will still let every spam caller ring your phone ONCE. It intercepts the call before the second ring. We keep the ringer in our bedroom phone silent on account of this.
 

Rovin Romine

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Are the 80 year old parents nearby? Mine are getting up there but they live in different states, and I'm not really sure what my having evening phone access would ever do for them.

To my mind, if it's a medical/police/fire emergency, they would be best off calling 911 as soon as they're aware there's a problem. Especially if they have limited calling time for any reason whatsoever. I can't imagine a scenario where they'd be better off calling me and then have me look up, call, and relate whatever information they gave me to some third party.

Am I wrong about this?
 

IpswichSox

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Spam calls went way down after the Do Not Call registry went into effect, at least for us. But robocalls are off the charts for us now, especially the spoofing where the caller ID looks like it's from our area code or even prefix. If cell service weren't so spotty at my house, I would have dumped my Verizon landline long ago. It's weird to think about not having a landline -- until you think about how infrequently we actually use it. Like I'm not sure I remember how to check the voice mail on it...
 

NortheasternPJ

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Spam calls went way down after the Do Not Call registry went into effect, at least for us. But robocalls are off the charts for us now, especially the spoofing where the caller ID looks like it's from our area code or even prefix. If cell service weren't so spotty at my house, I would have dumped my Verizon landline long ago. It's weird to think about not having a landline -- until you think about how infrequently we actually use it. Like I'm not sure I remember how to check the voice mail on it...
Do you have WiFi calling enabled? Our cell service at our house is spotty but WiFi calling is perfect.
 

shaggydog2000

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I use a cordless phone system. Plug the base station into the modem/router and the satellite cordless phones work wherever you plug them into a power outlet. No phone wiring required.
This is what my family does with their comcast phone hookup as well. Works just fine.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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If you don’t get spam on your cell you’re a lucky, lucky man. Between spam and robocalls, the DNC list is worthless at this point. You’re going to get them anyway, but there are apps that will auto block them on your cell.

As to your number, think of it as your property. You can port it out if you want to keep it, move it to another company, to something like google or to a cell.

Late night needs for elderly parents, as others have noted, you can set your phone to only ring during time x and time y, unless person a calls or there’s repeat calls. Otherwise it mutes them.

Power, again as noted, power packs that will recharge your phone five times are like $20. We own about seven of them. They’re extremely versatile to have either way and serve many purposes. Well worth it.

If you have reception problems there are boosters you can buy. If you don’t remember your phone when you leave house, well, I dunno what to suggest. I leave the house more often without my car keys than my phone, but that’s probably generational.

Price wise when you call to cancel landline, don’t be shocked when they tell you it’s cheaper to keep it - if you have a ‘Triple Play’ type situation with cable and internet as well, they bundle it. I had a landline for about five years - I never knew the number and didn’t even own a phone for it, but every time I called Comcast and tried to lower my bill I was told it would actually go up if I dropped a service I didn’t use.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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I'll try that base station plug into the modem/router. That sounds like it should work.

And our landline is an old Verizon line, while our triple play with VOIP is Comcast/Xfinity, so we're already paying for this phone that never rings and is rarely used. It's the home phone that is Spam Central, our cells get some spam but not much. Yet.