…has been disconnected.
For the first time in my life, I do not have a home phone number.
Last week, we decided to drop our landline telephone service. We did an informal-yet-enlightening analysis of our home phone usage, and here’s what led to our decision:
- Of all the inbound calls we get in a week (according to caller ID, it’s between 25-30), less than one is usually from someone with a legitimate reason to call us. The rest of the calls are telemarketers, political robo-dialers, and/or survey-takers.
- People who really need to contact us already use our mobile numbers.
- The only outbound calls we make are to the local pizza shop or the occasional business phone call when T-Mobile or US Cellular can’t get a signal to our house.
Based on the first point alone, our decision was made. Once we looked at the cost, it made the choice that much easier: we were paying $85 per month for basic phone service and 8 Mbit internet. 15 Mbit internet-only service from our provider costs $52, which means we were paying $33 per month for the “convenience” of being hassled by people (and machines) we didn’t want to hear from.
I made the call Friday morning and by Monday afternoon the phone line was turned off. Oh, and this little bit of joy took only minutes to go into effect:
We did not put a forwarding number on the account because the people who need to contact us know how to do so. So all you robo-dialing, political-office-running, lawn care-selling, survey-taking entities will have to find another tree to bark up. Or whatever it is that you do.
For the people and places with whom we wish to stay in contact but we’d rather they didn’t have our mobile numbers, we’re sharing our Google Voice number. This has the advantages of (a) not ringing a phone in our house (or pockets), and (b) providing a spiffy and occasionally accurate transcription of the voice mail that the caller can leave when they dial our number. And if, for some reason, we need to have the Google Voice forwarded to a “real” phone, it’s just a few keystrokes to make that happen.
Yes, we’ll have to keep our mobile phones charged and have a spare standing by in case one of them takes a dive into the Chicago River. We’ll also have to make sure the numbers for our local Police and Fire Departments are programmed into our mobiles. Done and done.
One more step at simplifying our lives is complete.