Telephone line?

mrspeteNovember 4, 2012

If you're building a new house, are you including wiring and jacks for telephones?

I ask because my family has been all-cell for about ten years now, and we don't miss our landline a bit. Many of my friend's are doing the same thing. It seems to me that, although the savings from skipping telephone lines is minimal at best, it's something that no one would ever miss.

Your thoughts?

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kirkhall

You might miss it if you wanted a fax line in the future.
I might wire 1 on each floor, just because, in an office-like location.
But, nothing more.
(We are also an all wireless household, though with a 7 and 4 yr old, every now and then I think we should get a landline back for a couple years until they are old enough for cell phones)

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 4:18PM
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gaonmymind

During 9/11 cell phones went down but land lines worked. I was in DC at the time. It also has happened during emergencies in NYC. So I will have one because in case of emergency and resell I think it is good to have. They cost almost nothing and service is so cheap.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 4:29PM
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mtnrdredux_gw

We have one landline in our office for faxing (also going the way of the Dodo bird), and one handset. It is a redundant system for communications in emergencies.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 4:58PM
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zone4newby

We'll probably have the house wired for phone because our builder includes it in his base price, but we'll only get the house connected to the phone system if they'll do it for free, or if that ends up being the better way to get broadband internet.

We have a cheap pay-as-you-go cell we use as a "home phone" for the kids.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 5:15PM
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virgilcarter

How will your provide for internet access and TV? Do you need to send or receive faxes? These issues, plus telephone, should probably all be considered together and a plan made in the new construction for all of them.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 5:23PM
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renovator8

My fax is over the internet. When I receive one it comes in as an email.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 7:49PM
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dekeoboe

We have a telephone line. We need it in order to have internet. We have telephone lines in many rooms in our house. I prefer using a home phone to a cell phone. My husband's cell phone ties into the house telephones. It can be in the laundry room, but will ring on the house phones.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 8:08PM
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mtnrdredux_gw

i think we need a phone line for the alarm system too if i recall?

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 9:41PM
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lazypup

Back in the mid 1980's there was an incident where a man had a heart attack and someone ran to a nearby house to call 911. No one answered the door, but the door was open so they went inside and tried to call 911, but the house was vacant and the phone service had been turned off. Not knowing that, the person attempting to call 911 wasted additional time by repeatedly attempting to call. As a result the heart attach victim died without any aid and a suit was later filed against the phone company which said when the service is turned off, there needs to be some means to warn anyone who attempts to use the phone that the service is off. The phone companies then agreed that even if the contractural service is disconnected, any telephone attached to their lines will be able to call 911.

You must also realize the even though your personal communications are all done by cell phone, cell phones are actually a two-way radio service from your handset to a local cell tower where it switches over to landline, and if there is a major power outage such as they just experienced in NY & NJ the cell phone towers may be offline,or they may no longer even be there.

Every household should have at least one landline telephone, and the telephone instrument needs to be the older analog type that does not require a plug in power adapter.

The phone company supplies there own electric so even if the grid is down, in many cases the landline phone system is still working and you would still have a link to 911.

Now, in addition to personal communications they also use the landline for your home security system, and in many localities they now connect your water meter, gas meter and electric meter to the phone line so your meters can be read remotely by computer instead of have a meter reader come to the house.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 11:39PM
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Xclusive

We did structured wiring (home run all wires to a single location in a closet) and ran 2-cat5e & 2-RG6QS to each outlet on two walls in each room. Wiring this way had all of the bases covered. We could have the option of moving furniture around in rooms. We also have the option of wiring the rooms for internet, cable, fax, phone, etc any any combination and we have the option of having tv svcs run over cat5e (which we currently have) or have them run over co-axial if needed as well. I think that way it fits our needs as well as those in the future for resale.

Hope that helps!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 12:26AM
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mrspete

I've read what y'all say, but I'm not convinced.

- I never send faxes, given that emails seem to me to be a better product (better quality to read, saved in archives, faster, can be traced). I think of faxes as something from the 80s, and I wasn't quite aware that anyone still used them.

- My youngest child is 16, and when I have grandchildren I don't see why they couldn't be taught to use a cell phone just as easily as a house phone. My four-year old nephew is learning to use a cell phone, just as my children learned to use a house phone at his age.

- Yes, we can cite individual examples in which a house phone was useful . . . but we all know just as many stories about incidences in which cell phones worked while house phones didn't (for example, if someone hits a phone pole). I grew up with notoriously bad phone service out in the country, and we regularly lost service for a week at a time. If we could plan our emergencies, we'd avoid them altogether. Losing cell phone service (in my area anyway) is pretty rare; I don't see paying all the time for a second phone "just in case".

- I don't have a house phone now, and I have both TV and internet service; obviously, a phone line isn't necessary for these. Likewise, my meters are being read without phone service. Before anyone says, "Ah, but you have the lines" -- no, I don't. We'd been talking about becoming an all-cell family, and then -- unrelated -- we had a pipe burst under the house. One of the things that happened in fixing the pipe and associated problems was that our phone lines were all ruined. The lines were pulled out. We have phone lines running TO our house, but they don't come INSIDE our house. It would've cost us money to put them back in, so we chose not to do it. However, if we suddenly wanted to put a house phone back in, the lines TO the house do exist.

- A phone line IS necessary for an alarm system, but I don't intend to have an alarm system.

- A house phone line does cost money: Money to install the lines, and the most basic house phone service will run $125-150/year. Yeah, it's not all that much money, but I don't want to spend if I can't see a purpose. If the phone company would install the lines "just in case we ever want service", I'd be fine with that . . . but somehow I don't think they'll go for that.

I appreciate your feedback, but these are the kind of things that I'd considered . . . and things that hadn't moved me. The one thing that does sway me is the idea that IF circumtsances changed in the future, it might cost more in the future to add lines; however, I see the world moving towards more digital usage rather than less.

Y'all have convinced me that I'm on the right track. Thanks.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 8:05AM
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bevangel_i_h8_h0uzz

We had originally planned not to bother with a land line in our new home but then found out that we had to have one for the emergency phone in our elevator. But now we're glad we have a landline tho because, once our house was built and we moved in, we realized that apparently our home sits sort of in a cell-phone dead zone. I say "sort of" because sometimes we get plenty of bars and sometimes none - even when standing in the exact same location in our house.

Maybe cell signal strength depends on how much other cell traffic there is in the area at a given moment. Or maybe on the weather. Or maybe overhead airline traffic affects it. Or maybe it all just depends on the whims of the gods! Who knows. I just know that sometimes my cell phone will suddenly beep at me to tell me I have a voice message waiting and when I check it, it turns out the caller called 10 minutes to 2 or 3 hours earlier and the call just didn't ring through...even though my cell phone had been in my pocket or laying on a counter top in exact the same spot the entire time!

And sometimes when I need to make a call from my house, I'll have 5 bars and get a signal that is clear as a bell while at other times, I'll have no signal at all inside the house and have to go outdoors on my upstairs balcony in order to get a single bar!

It's not like we're way out in the middle of nowhere either. We're 15 minutes from a major city and less than a mile (as the crow flies) from a major highway. And yet, our cell service is erratic enough that all our friends and family now have both our cell numbers and our landline number and we tell them, if you really need to talk to us and a call to our cell numbers goes directly to voice mail, please try the landline.

Until cell phone service is much more reliable that it currently is, I'd suggest having landline wiring put in just-in-case. It's a rather minor expense if it turns out you don't need it but will be a major headache if it turns out that you do but don't have it.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 8:28AM
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lolauren

bevangel... perhaps you're just not close enough to a cell phone tower or you happen to be in between two equally. We live 15 mins from the city and 1 mile from the highway, also. I had spotty service with my cell phone (not hubby's) for a while until they fixed it by putting in an additional tower. I agree with the advice of making sure you have strong cell reception at the building site. However, you can get a decent feel of that before a house is built...

We do have lines to the house and some rooms, but only because the builder included it. I probably wouldn't have otherwise. I have not had a landline (in 6 different cities, two states) over the last 12 years. I expect technology will continue to move away from the use of landlines. Yes, some geographies still necessitate them.... but certainly most people can get away with not having one.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 9:10AM
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kirkhall

While my 7 yr old knows how to use a cell phone, that doesn't do her any good if she is home and the phone is with me (and I am delayed returning).

We are thinking of getting a burner phone for this purpose... But, I caution that you think about the fact that a cell phone walks away. You will always know where a lined phone is.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:49PM
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galore2112

I haven't had a landline since 1998. I use pigeons for emergency communication. They work even if the power is out.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:50PM
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kirkhall

(oh, and we have a lined phone connected but not operational in the garage--it will work in an emergency though and we aren't paying a phone company any money (certainly not $150/yr) to have the line.) If my 7yo needed to call 911 and I weren't home with my cell phone, she could do that. She just can't, at the current time, call me.--thence the reason we are considering a burner/pay-as-you-go phone).

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:53PM
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brickeyee

It is a lot easier to keep the TELCO central office running in its single larger generator during a power outage than the small generators with small fuel tanks required at every cell tower.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 2:19PM
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dekeoboe

The other thing to think about is will you be able to use a cell phone as you age? Cell phones can be very difficult for those with hearing aids to use. They can also be very difficult to use when your manual dexterity decreases. I hope that as the baby boomer population ages, technology will address these things, but as of right now, I think it has a ways to go.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 3:14PM
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lyfia

We have a wired phone. Have the same issue as bevangel and we don't have any other way to get high speed internet. It is either DSL, wireless, or satelite where we live. No cable so that made the decision there. It was actually very nice when we had the wild fires in our area to get the emergency evacuation info on there. Didn't find out until then that those are given and have since tried to add our cell phones as well to get those notifications. Make sure you do that at least.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 4:21PM
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chris11895

We have a land line because not having it made no difference in the cost of the cable and internet package we have. I use it all of the time because I still find listening to people is clearer on a land line. My parents and mother-in-law also seem to have a harder time understanding us on cell phones. And because the land line package has unlimited calling using it in place of our cell phones saves us minutes.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 7:07PM
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Beth Parsons

We will have 1 phone jack in my office for a land line and to provide DSL for internet. Comcast is our only cable provider and though faster, I wouldn't pay for their services with free money.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 7:50PM
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Xclusive

Well I would say your mind was already made up before you posted the thread whether you wanted a landline or not. You were just curious to see why other people chose to have a landline. In the end that is a decision you will have to make and live with. As I stated in my earlier post if you have the house wired for the landline at the sametime your other low voltage wires are being run, the cost is minimal and you have the wires there to configure them however you would like to and still be wired for future resell as well.

I always go on the basis that if I can have something hardwired versus wireless, I will always chose the hardwired option if possible. When we first moved in even though the house was pre-wired to havea landline, I had no intentions of getting a landline at all since we all have cell phones. Well funny thing happened when we moved in...we get very spotty coverage in our house if any at all and there is no way I would fell safe depending on our cell phones for an ER when virtually every call I attempt to makes drops very shortly or doesn't go thru at all. As I stated its very minimal cost to run wires for landline and if you look at the grand scheme of things with the total cost of your house (reguardless of the amount you are spending) adding wires for landline to have the option doesn't cost much at all!

Good luck with your build and post lots of pics!

Just my .02 cents FWIW!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 10:39PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

We have a landline and use it in addition to our cells. When power was out and we had uverse, we still had phones if they were hardwired. We since switched to cable and the landline phones were all out.

I find reception still better with landlines. And I think that, since it's so easy to wire for it when the walls are open, why not put it in....doesn't mean you have to use it. But if you want it or find you need it for any reason, it's there.

We put as much into the walls ahead of time as we could as we used spray foam insulation, and you don't want to have to chop into that stuff to add wiring later if you don't have to.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 9:09AM
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brickeyee

The cable networks often depend on local power for their distribution networks.

No power, no internet.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 3:56PM
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marie_ndcal

When we built many years ago, cell phones were not really in, and we put a phone jack in every room. Glad we did because cell phones really never worked in the area--mountains-- and the people that bought the house really appreciated the extra jacks. I think for everyone's safety and protection you need both. Cell phones don't always work.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 4:12PM
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scrappy25

When we moved to the Verizon Triple play package (digital internet-cable-phone), I insisted on keeping my copper phone line for some of the reasons listed above. It is independently powered so that it will always work even when the power and cell towers are out. They have a scene in the Day after Tomorrow movie about this. I'm sure that this is being over paranoid but it didn't cost me any extra so why change?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 10:44PM
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mommyto4boys

...I think for the little cost of a land line it is worth it! After no land line while renting this past year, I'm looking forward to a land line again. And trust me, teens and tweens are a little "forgetfull" and their phones are never charged when they are at home & you are trying to reach them OR they forget to turn them on after school, etc!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 8:19AM
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mrspete

Yes, I did have my mind mostly made up before I posted -- I wanted to see if anyone had ideas that hadn't occured to me. Most of these I had considered: The need to keep phones charged all the time, etc. I know for a fact that we have good cell phone coverage on our land, so geography isn't an issue.

I do have to say, though, that some of the information here is false. You can have internet without phone lines. Your land line will not automatically work in every emergency.

Although I remain unconvinced, I do appreciate y'all's thoughts on phone lines.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 9:40AM
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lolauren

It seems a lot of these answers are geography-based. Where I live, power almost never goes out, the risk of a disaster is very low and there aren't any mountains to impede a signal. (There could be a fire risk, but then I wouldn't want to be in my house on the landline.)

MrsPete ... just make sure you can have internet on your land without phone lines. That really depends how rural you are. My first house had infinite connectivity options, so I didn't have to look into it. The current house is more rural and the only high speed (wired) internet was via cable.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 10:17AM
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dekeoboe

I do have to say, though, that some of the information here is false. You can have internet without phone lines.

Where I live you can't unless you want satellite internet.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 10:34AM
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kirkhall

Dekeoboe is correct. There are still many areas of the country that only get internet with a phone line or satellite. And, they don't even have to be THAT rural. My parents have high speed fiber in a very rural area of Central Washington. Not even 5 miles away, my brother, who is closer to the freeway and closer to town, only has satellite as an option (or dial-up).

Not mis-information. Maybe just not in your area.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 12:29PM
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brickeyee

"You can have internet without phone lines. Your land line will not automatically work in every emergency. "

A POTS line is powered by the phone company, and they are supposed to have backup power available.

Banks of separate lead acid cells used to be used for the 48 V DC used by the phone system.

The newer digital switching equipment often relies on a backup generator (the actual load power is much smaller than the old mechanical stepper switches needed at 48 VDC).

Many larger cable or internet systems depend on having available AC power throughout the system area.

It depends on how large the system is (geographically).

Even the internet only goes so far over wires.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 12:57PM
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Melanie2012

What is not false:
Should I ever need to dial 911 in an emergency, my land line will be far more reliable and provide my location to the emergency responders. Not sure all cell service can do the same. Even though today's cell phones may be equipped with GPS, will the center I call be able to take advantage of that to find me in time?

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 3:45PM
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lolauren

911/dispatch will use triangulation to approximate where the call came from. I know for my house that it will be exactly accurate.

They also have the ability to look your cell phone number up in a database and (likely) pull up your address that way... of course, that only works at your home/billing address.

With that said, yes, the land line will be more accurate in that instance, generally speaking. Does it mean everyone should pay for a land line for the rare chance that there would be an emergency, in the house, where the caller can't communicate their address over a cell phone? maybe... if you have certain health problems or young children and are especially concerned.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 7:07PM
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kirkhall

You don't need to pay for the landline! That is the point! (Mrs. Pete has to pay a tiny bit for the materials to get it in her walls, since it is a new house). I have a landline to my house. I am not paying for a landline. But, it is there, and it will work for a 911 call. Not any other, but it will for 911.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 7:57PM
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lolauren

Oh. Oops! :)

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 8:04PM
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