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Being in a rural area we have both wireless handsets with a base station and one old telephone directly connected to the wired telephone service. The old telephone, powered by the telephone company, works when the power goes out.
I have a home in a rural area of upstate NY. When I first built there, cell service was inconsistent. We had Verizon install a POTS line for emergency and home monitoring (I installed sensors that would use the phone to call me if certain conditions were met).

That's when I learned just how bad this "rural" phone service was. Service would fail every month. Sometimes it was out for weeks at a time until I learned about it. I would usually find out when I arrived there and had to call Verizon for service. They never ended up coming to the house - the problem was always at some location in town.

All the while, the cell towers were upgraded and now provide a reliable signal. (The local telephone company/cable provider also ran fiber option broadband using some grant money.) Cell phones even work during the occasional local power outage.

WIth a basically 100% uptime for cell phones vs a <1% uptime for landline, I had to concede that the landline served no useful purpose for my situation.
 


What are you paying for FiOS, though? In my calls to Verizon, they were completely unwilling to provide any kind of phone service for any kind of reasonable price, despite their completely false "$79.99/mo." advertising, which in reality was a minimum of something like $140/mo. In other words, I was completely unable to buy phone-only service of any kind for any reasonable price, but it would be tacked onto very expensive FiOS service with TV and other things that I had no use for.
The question wasn't directed to me, but I recently went round and round with Verizon on this issue.

On my upstate NY home, Verizon charged around $24.99/mo. That was POTS/copper service with the absolute minimum. I believe there may be regulations governing that.

Of course, in that area Verizon did/does not have any other services to offer.

Downstate NY, I am in a FIOS area. We have FIOS for internet/TV and just recently dropped the landline portion of the service. Between double-plays and triple-plays and double-super-secret discounts and weird bundles, I don't know if there is an actual "price" for landline phone service. At least not one that they will willingly divulge. The pricing system is a game of three-card monty. They are as bad as SiriusXM. Deleting the phone from my "package" either raised the monthly cost by $50-75 or decreased it by $30-50, depending on who I spoke to.

I believe there are some regulations in place that require them to provide a certain level of telephone service at a certain cost. Having the FiOS connection may get them around that.
 


(It seems that ConEd comes to fix something and pokes a hole in the water line; the city water-line people come and faff the cable line; the cable company comes in and dislodges Verizon's cabling; Verizon comes in and screws up the power, necessitating a visit from ConEd to start the ball rolling again.)
That is a splendid description of the situation. The only thing I would add is that this often happens right after the street has been repaved.

My neighborhood is close to the East River, so the Sandy flooding was significant. Our basements were flooded floor to ceiling; the water came within 3-4 inches of the top step of our stoop. Everything electrical in and around the buildings was severely damaged. The huge Con Ed plant nearby was out of commission. Given the amount of damage, I can’t fault Verizon for ignoring things like POTS lines for a while; they were repairing major problems under the street all over the neighborhood for many months.

But of course, it was also the perfect excuse to just abandon their POTS customers forever.
 


On my upstate NY home, Verizon charged around $24.99/mo. That was POTS/copper service with the absolute minimum. I believe there may be regulations governing that.
I believe that to be a good assumption. It is the same here in FL, $24.99, for basic POTS service. It is all the other service charges and fees, such as charges for having an unlisted number, which have been going up. But the base rate has remained constant.
 



What are you paying for FiOS, though? In my calls to Verizon, they were completely unwilling to provide any kind of phone service for any kind of reasonable price, despite their completely false "$79.99/mo." advertising, which in reality was a minimum of something like $140/mo. In other words, I was completely unable to buy phone-only service of any kind for any reasonable price, but it would be tacked onto very expensive FiOS service with TV and other things that I had no use for.
I live in Newton, MA, which has three competitive internet/cable companies, Verizon, RCN and Comcast, and I pay $112 a month plus change:
  1. $74.99 for the Internet and Phone bundle (no cable TV)
  2. $19.99 for "services and equipment" ($9.99 for the second FIOS digital voice line and $10 for a plan that lets me call overseas for up to 300 minutes without extra charge, which I use in my business)
  3. $17.42 (which varies a bit each month) for assorted taxes and fees.
I am sure the local competition has an impact.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I live in Newton, MA, which has three competitive internet/cable companies, Verizon, RCN and Comcast, and I pay $112 a month plus change...
FiOS business Internet costs $100/mo. here, while Verizon Wireless is $60/mo. for one line and Consumer Cellular is $74/mo. for two lines.
 


We used to have Verizon copper wire for our POTS connection here on Long Island. Over the course of a few years, the system continued to degrade as Verizon stopped repairing/supporting the copper wire system. Eventually, they moved us over to FIOS Voice at the same price we had been paying (currently running about $109/month including taxes and fees).

I asked them about what would happen in the event of a power outage, and they said not to worry because they installed a back-up battery that would last about 8 hours. Then Hurricane Sandy hit, and, sure enough, the back-up battery lasted about 8 hours. They had neglected to tell us that the battery would not last for 8 hours of actual usage, but only for 8 hours of wall-time as it continued to listen for incoming calls. So 8 hours into an 11 day power outage we were without a phone as both the back-up battery and local cell towers began to go down.

We still have that phone line, because my wife likes the "security" of a landline, but at least I don't have to worry about the back-up battery anymore, because we got a whole-house emergency generator.
 



I do not believe someone can get a new account with POTS service any longer down here. Mine is an old account.
There was some discussion a while back about phone companies trying to get regulatory approval to drop support for traditional landlines, but I don't know what has happened to that. I think it was part of a digital transition program that may have got lost in the regulatory chaos of the past couple of years.
 


There was some discussion a while back about phone companies trying to get regulatory approval to drop support for traditional landlines, but I don't know what has happened to that. I think it was part of a digital transition program that may have got lost in the regulatory chaos of the past couple of years.
While the final say is required by the FCC, there has been some movement at the state level in regards to modernization of this infrastructure and the phasing out of POTS access. Illinois is one such state which has already passed legislation.
 


The Kansas City metro area has a few providers, including Google Fiber, which is not available in the weird little overlap of municipalities where I live in Kansas. The big competitors are AT&T (including Uverse and Dish), Spectrum, Comcast Xfinity, and Cox. Cell phone-wise, we have all the big players and some of the little MVNOs, too.

I don't like being tied to one company for all my services, and I worry that MVNOs like Ting won't have enough coverage.

I'm on T-Mobile here in Kansas City on a legacy plan with 5 phone lines, unlimited text and talk, 2GB of 4g data per phone, unlimited 3g data. Roughly $135 per month, taxes & fees included. This was T-Mobile's old Simple Choice North America Plan: Unlimited Talk + Text -
$80 for two lines, $20 second line, $10 every other line plan. My kids have only gone over the 2GB data a few times, and it was right before a new billing cycle. Most of the time, the kids have WiFi anyway (home, school, the library, Starbucks, friends' houses) and don't do too much on their phones besides texting and YouTube. I have a daughter away at college who even does most of her calling over WiFi now, because her dorm is in a low spot on campus and she can't always get a good cell signal in her room.

We also still have a land line, but it's UVerse (we still have a gradeschooler who doesn't need a smartphone). We opt for the Internet & Phone plan, no cable or DishTV included, and pay about $80 a month for both "unlimited internet" (100 GB of data) and unlimited local/long distance phone. This was a promotional bundle that's set to expire next year, so I'm getting prepared to haggle and jump ship if need be.

I also keep an old Tracfone flip-phone around that I throw a service plan on every few months to keep it alive, so my grade schooler can carry it around when we drop him off at practices and music lessons or goes to his friend's house. Maybe $20 every three or four months? I just buy the scratch-off cards at the grocery store for that.

So, I'm paying roughly $215-ish for monthly services, not including the flip phone.
 


I worry that MVNOs like Ting won't have enough coverage.
They have the same coverage as the company they're reselling, usually. I've never had an issue with Ting that wasn't experienced by normal Sprint users. (Ting also uses another company, I think it's AT&T, now.)
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
They have the same coverage as the company they're reselling, usually. I've never had an issue with Ting that wasn't experienced by normal Sprint users.
I don't know if this applies to "roaming" areas, where the host company and the MVNO may differ (or not, I'm not sure).
 


While the final say is required by the FCC, there has been some movement at the state level in regards to modernization of this infrastructure and the phasing out of POTS access. Illinois is one such state which has already passed legislation.
I worked for phone companies in the Northwest for 24+ years, What you should do is call the local phone company. One local land line might be less than $100. Verizon can charge for bundles because they are not a phone company only. They have contracts that do phone, TV and Internet. As you experienced, it is not as simple to buy just phone service. So see if the local company is in your area. Here in Seattle and 14 other states, the company is CenturyLink. Even they are selling bundles, but I believe they can also sell you phone service separately at an affordable cost.
 


While the final say is required by the FCC, there has been some movement at the state level in regards to modernization of this infrastructure and the phasing out of POTS access. Illinois is one such state which has already passed legislation.
In some areas, such as Texas, Verizon got rid our their copper lines by selling them to Frontier. Frontier seems to think that copper wiring has considerable value. I would at least think that the existing copper wiring from the road or alley to the house has value. I believe, in Missoula, Century Link was running fiber down the alley in a really nice neighborhood but hey ran DSL on the existing copper wiring from the alley into the house, thus avoiding digging up the yard and bushes. I do note that the utility often buries the fiber just below the roots of the grass and thus the installation of fiber might not be terribly disruptive, but I guess you might have patios and sidewalks in the way. You can have fairly high data rates using DSL over short distances. This system might be useful when supplying rural homes where you would would run fiber in the road ditch and then run DSL to the house.

In my case, I am getting 13 Mbps over two DSL streams on different phone pairs added together at the modem from the central office that is about 4 1/2 miles away.
 


We live in St. Louis, and switched from POTS to ATT Uverse when they made us an offer we couldn't refuse: $73/month (including taxes and fees) for unlimited VoIP "landline" and 6 Mbps internet, which actually tests at 7.5. I negotiated free hardware as well. That's less than we'd been paying for POTS and 3 Mbps DSL. Every year I call ATT before the deal expires, and so far, every time they've extended my pricing for another year without drama.

ATT obviously wants to get out from under POTS, which is fine with me. Uverse VoIP has been solid, with excellent voice quality. 7.5 Mbps is more than enough bandwidth to stream two different HD movies simultaneously.
 


I find it strange there are no "senior/AARP" discounts on communications. Had a quote from Verizon that is $39 for 100/100 (BYOR: Bring your own router) but only with phone for $29, so that is $60/month plus fees/taxes (likely over $70).

I have a parent we want to monitor/FaceTime with, and allow to watch YouTube (so much to watch/learn from), etc. So $70/month isn't too unrealistic (in my opinion, FiOS has been reliable) - by the way, that is 2-year contract.

Tip: If you have no need for TV, tell FIOS to provision the ONT for Cat5/ethernet and not MOCA. Then you can use your own router (I am going with Netgear Orbi).
 



If you have no need for TV, tell FIOS to provision the ONT for Cat5/ethernet and not MOCA. Then you can use your own router (I am going with Netgear Orbi).
Alternatively (e.g. if your ONT is outdoors and you don't want to pull Ethernet cabling through your walls), you can use MoCA along with a MoCA bridge to convert its signal to Ethernet where it connects to your router.

DSL Reports has a FiOS FAQ that talks about this and mentions several different MoCA bridges known to be compatible with FiOS.
 


Have you guys tried the VOIP service, Ooma? I've had it for over 5 years. You buy a small unit for about $99 to connect to your internet line, and plug your phone (or wireless base unit) into the box. Port your landline number.

The base service is included; the premier service includes two lines and a bunch of useful services, including ringing your cell, home, and an app for calling using the phone, worldwide. It is dramatically cheaper per month than what the phone companies charge. And you can take your base unit with you when you move...
 



FiOS business Internet costs $100/mo. here, while Verizon Wireless is $60/mo. for one line and Consumer Cellular is $74/mo. for two lines.
I live in Eugene, OR, and in most of our city, the only possible internet, business or home, is Comcast. For business, we pay about $160/month, with static IP and all taxes and fees included.

My office is approx 1 mile from the heart of downtown, in a business district, and the traditional landline carrier, Centurylink, offers only DSL.
 


Another cheap VoIP option is Voip.ms. You pay $0.40 to setup, and $0.85 per month for your phone number. Then, you only pay about $0.01 per minute for incoming and outgoing calls.

You just need to provide your own VoIP equipment. ATA's can be obtained cheaply, like a Cisco SPA112 for $30 on Amazon or less on eBay. You can also use SIP softphones so you can access the service on your smartphone or computer.

For anyone who is still paying $20-25 per month for landline POTS service, unless you have some absolute need to have telephone service during a power outage, I don't know why you wouldn't switch to a cheap VoIP provider like Ooma, Voip.ms, or Magic Jack. The rates are so much cheaper and the features are so much greater.
 


I'm just about 4 miles out from my local central office and have Frontier for both a POTS line and companion DSL service. My line was conditioned for working DSL more than 10 years ago, and recently water breached one of the boxes along the route up on a pole. Instead of remedying the connection issue at the box, the line tech moved me to a different copper pair. Guess what? My DSL no longer works!

The follies of trying to explain this to the Frontier line tech, initiating yet another service request and having their tech call my home number instead of my alternate contact number (we all work, right?) has led to unbelieveable frustration, not to mention multiple days without working internet!

I'm trying to avoid getting in bed with Comcast, but I don't know if I'll ever find somebody at Frontier who "gets it" and will actually, successfully fix this.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
For anyone who is still paying $20-25 per month for landline POTS service, unless you have some absolute need to have telephone service during a power outage, I don't know why you wouldn't switch to a cheap VoIP provider like Ooma, Voip.ms, or Magic Jack. The rates are so much cheaper and the features are so much greater.
Thanks for the good info, and I'll just note that you have to provide Internet access for these phones to work, which presumably costs something in addition to their up-front, VoIP and tax/fee costs.
 


I'm a happy Google Voice user since their beta. We have several lines. Can't beat the price: free (no taxes).
 


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