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When Was the Last Time You Used a Landline Phone?

Displaying poll results.
  8716 votes / 33%
This Week
  5376 votes / 20%
This Month
  2636 votes / 10%
This Year
  1838 votes / 7%
Over a Year
  6204 votes / 23%
81 votes / 0%
What's a Landline Phone?
  1152 votes / 4%
26003 total votes.
[ Voting Booth | Other Polls | Back Home ]
  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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When Was the Last Time You Used a Landline Phone?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 21, 2013 @11:46AM (#42647361)

    This month and this year are the same thing at this point, since it's January. And the last time I used a phone was in December, so none of the options work for me, since it was last year but not over a year.

    • by The Living Fractal (162153) <> on Monday January 21, 2013 @12:08PM (#42647625) Homepage
      You know.... you could just interpret it outside of relative calendar restrictions as "within a week, a month, a year".

      Because, like, that's what everyone else is probably doing :D
      • You know.... you could just interpret it outside of relative calendar restrictions as "within a week, a month, a year".

        Because, like, that's what everyone else is probably doing :D

        No, some with interpret it as written and others will interpret it as it should have been written so there goes the scientific objectivity of this Slashdot poll.

      • by jimshatt (1002452)
        First of all, you should have honored your sig...
        If you read this poll literally, you would need a checkbox, because today is also this week is also this month is also this year. All while not even knowing what a landline is :)
  • Landline? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by anybody_out_there (2814321) on Monday January 21, 2013 @11:49AM (#42647397)
    Does home/biz VoIP count as a landline? It's not mobile!
  • by Foolhardy (664051) <csmith32 AT gmail DOT com> on Monday January 21, 2013 @11:54AM (#42647451)
    Does being at work count? I haven't had a landline at home since I lived at my parent's house. At work we do have desk phones though, which use a wired VOIP backend.
  • Home POTS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lord Grey (463613) on Monday January 21, 2013 @12:05PM (#42647599)

    I still have Plain Old Telephone Service at home, albeit with several fancy wireless handsets scattered around the house. I also have a cherry red corded handset (my wife refers to it as the BatPhone) that I can use when the wireless handsets die, like after a prolonged power outage.

    Having this landline, in this configuration, is an intentional decision. It's separate from all my networking stuff, it survives power outages (when I haul out my BatPhone), and it generally works a hell of a lot better than any other technology for voice calls. Calls are clear, don't get dropped, I hear every word, and there is no latency.

    I'm keeping my landline, thankyouverymuch

    • What? You aren't enslaved completely to the latest and greatest tech? How dare you.

    • by synapse7 (1075571)
      Use UPS to charge cell?
    • Re:Home POTS (Score:4, Interesting)

      by kannibal_klown (531544) on Monday January 21, 2013 @12:59PM (#42648215)

      If I hadn't gone with FIOS I'd probably still have POTS... if only for the ability to make calls during prolonged power outages. Over the past 1.5 years I've had 3 such outages: 8 days, 7 days, and 3 days. Prior to that, only 1 or 2 long outages in 25-30 years.

      BUt... I just couldn't help myself. 75Mbit Fiber connection was just too tempting. So they set up what I imagine is a VOIP setup... all calls through the fiber. Which means when the fiber box's battery runs out (X Hours) I'm without a hard line.

    • by jbengt (874751)

      Having this landline, in this configuration, is an intentional decision. It's separate from all my networking stuff, it survives power outages

      That was one of the reasons (though not the main one) that I've kept the POTS at my house all these years. But lately, AT&T have installed all fiber along the main road (about 600 feet from my house) and the last time we lost power, we lost the landline phone service, but not the cell phone service.

    • by olddoc (152678)
      I agree with you for exactly the same reasons you state.
  • by realsilly (186931) on Monday January 21, 2013 @12:06PM (#42647603)

    ... because when power is out I can still make a call if I need to and report the power outage. While I do have a working cell, within the home the signal blows and I have too many dropped calls. Finally, I've had such a horrible experience with VOIP, I've walked away from it completely.

    • by DERoss (1919496)

      I agree. POTS (classic land-line telephone service) is self-powered independently of the local electric utility.

      Our electric utility is Southern California Edison (SoCalEd), which has failures at all times of the year unrelated to the weather. The local cell towers are also powered by SoCalEd and thus are likely to fail when we have no electricity. VOIP would be through Time Warner Cable (my broadband service), whose amplifiers are powered by SoCalEd. When the lights go out, I have no Internet and no VO

  • Rarely for dial-up, fax, etc. Yeah, old school. I rarely use the phones and can't talk and hear well. Internet (IRC, IMs, textings, etc.) is the thing for me. I don't even own a cellphone!

  • by DickBreath (207180) on Monday January 21, 2013 @12:24PM (#42647823) Homepage
    Most people do have a landline at the office. This will probably continue to be true for a long time. It may gradually become blurry whether your desk phone at work is actually a land line or VoIP. But most people will think of it and probably call it a land line.

    A much better question would be to ask Slashdot readers about landlines at home, or in personal non-work life. I suspect this would change the poll outcome significantly.
    • by talexb (223672)

      I've had a VOIP at the last two places of work, going back five years. Works great: no dropped calls, great sound, lots of features, and easy to move.

    • by Bigbutt (65939)

      I actually assumed it was the home landline and not the work one. One of the reasons is I seldom actually use the one on my desk. Generally it's just the one on my belt.


    • by Mspangler (770054)

      "Most people do have a landline at the office."

      My workplace has some sort of ethernet connected and powered phone. They thought it was some sort of good idea, until the first power outage and it went dark. Since I work at a chemical plant the safety issue with having the phones out was immediately obvious (after it happened,) so now we have a plant radio at the building's assembly area too.

      Oh and in case of emergency, you are not allowed to use cell phones unless they are certified intrinsically safe, like

      • by sirsnork (530512)

        Wow, that's a crappy implementation.

        VoIP should always be paired with PoE and a decent UPS. As long as you net connection was still live it would all have been fine

  • by rmdingler (1955220) on Monday January 21, 2013 @12:27PM (#42647871)
    The local County lockup only allows collect calls to land lines. Over the years, some of our employees have preferred this bonding-out benefit over more traditional perks like 401k and retirement.
    • by rubycodez (864176)

      you don't put miscreants under grade? the business has become soft in the last few decades I see....

      • You do the best you can with what you can get. Oddly though, in the building trades, some of the most gifted hands come with checkered pasts. Somehow we're no longer attracting the best and brightest of the Ivy league grads.
    • You know, my English isn't bad, but "bonding-out benefit" has me stumped for the first time in ~10 years of visiting /.

      • by girlinatrainingbra (2738457) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @03:46AM (#42666745)
        So in the USA, if you are incarcerated (put in jail when arrested), you are given the opportunity to make a phone call to let your family or mates know that you are in jail and that you need help (whether to notify a lawyer or have your mates come to the police station or jail and bond you out = pay for your bail out of jail with a bail bond, []
        If your friends and family all have cell phone numbers and do not have land lines, it is very possible that the telephone service which is used by the constabulary at the jail will not allow you to call those cell phone numbers.
        These limited service telephone systems will only allow you to make a local telephone call or a collect telephone call [] which can only be accepted or received on a land-line system telephone (POTS = plain old telephone service) and not at all received on a cellular carrier's service. Thus if you get a job where one of the benefits is "bonding out benefit", then you get the perk of your work temporarily loaning you enough money to be bailed out of jail and giving you a telephone number which you can call to carry out the receipt of this job benefit. Thus, no need to bother friends who may not be able to answer anyway on their cell phones. Ahh, the benefits of a cellular-phone society.
        One surprising thing I learned from wikipedia is that tihs crazy high bail cost is only prevalent in the USA: the rest of the world has lower affordable bail-out costs, or if you're dangerous they keep you in jail. I guess the prison-system and the jail system really IS a business industry in the US of A!
  • my ADSL came with a landline. something about the bits needing to follow copper...better for long conference calls than a cell phone too, we don't like to hear the switching and static and jumps in volume level that cellular telephony makes

    • by talexb (223672)

      You can get dry-DSL -- it's a phone line that does DSL only, without voice service. That's what I have on my first phone line; I would have moved my DSL over to my second phone line, but that line isn't capable of the high speed DSL I have on the first line (I dunno why -- ask Bell Canada). Current DSL speed is about 7.5M down, and about 125K up. (Yep, that up speed is puny -- a 5.7G transfer of video to Dropbox yesterday took 11 hours. Painful, and slowed everything else down too.)

      • by rubycodez (864176)

        sure but the extra cost to my 6MB/728KB was so tiny, $20 / month to the ADSL $19, I just went ahead and have the great convenience of land line. just measued it at and got 5.62 MB down and 690 KB up. close enough

  • by scotts13 (1371443) on Monday January 21, 2013 @12:46PM (#42648113)

    If so, today - I still feel the need for backup (of my cell phone) communications. If that means POTS only, I gave that up a couple of months ago.

  • I occasionally use the FIOS hard-line. I imagine it's VOIP, because it's not Copper POTS. It runs over fiber and through the FIOS box... if I lose power then I can only use the phone as long as the battery pack is running in the FIOS box.

    There was a 3-in-1 (FIOS Internet + TV +Phone) deal when I signed up, that was like $10 less than the 2-in-1 deal (Internet + Phone)

    I use it from time to time because the reception in my place isn't full bars... usually between 3 and 4 out of 5. And if I need to make a l

  • POTS rules (Score:5, Informative)

    by Christopher Bibbs (14) on Monday January 21, 2013 @01:08PM (#42648285) Homepage Journal

    I'll use my land line forever, much the way I do my Slashdot account.

  • I have POTS at home, VoIP at work. Like others, my ADSL came with POTS phone service. Dunno.

    I have no complaints about the Asterisk-based VoIP setup at work. The call quality is about the same as a cellphone, both for audio quality (G.729 codec) and call setup/drops/etc. It also means I can have a local phone number just about anywhere I want, which makes life much easier when head office (i.e. my boss) is a five hour flight away. It also gives me more stuff I can put on my resume.


  • I have a Cisco IP telephone on my desk, it's got a (CAT5) line that goes into the LAN(d) -- does that count? Or are we only talking old-school twister copper? Or maybe operator exchange []?

    Specify your terms people!

  • At work, where I don't have a choice, all the phones are ISDN land lines. I think it will be a long time before those disappear from corporate settings. As for my own home, I have not maintained a land line since I left my parents at age 18. There was one in my dorm room at college, though.

    So I have never paid for my own land line, I use one every day at work, and the last time I used one privately was a couple months ago.

    • by erice (13380)

      At work, where I don't have a choice, all the phones are ISDN land lines. I think it will be a long time before those disappear from corporate settings

      I'm sure there will be some corporations using land lines for a long time but the era where you can always expect to get a phone along with your computer and chair has already passed. My last two contract gigs (in office) never assigned me a an office phone. We used cell phones and skype. In my current contract, there is technically an office phone but it is awkwardly placed and shared with three others. I never use it. Once again, I use skype and my cell phone.

    • by gnapster (1401889)

      There was one in my dorm room at college, though.

      There was one in mine, too, but colleges started removing them about 8 years ago. Everyone had cell phones, and no one checked their student voice mail.

  • If yes, then today. Several times. With video conferencing as well.

    If it has to be POTS, then I'd say...15 years ago. At least. Yeah, 1998 sounds about right.

  • copper twisted-pair POTS here. With a rotary-dial phone no less. One good reason why: In my 45 years on Earth, the old tech has something like nine 9's of availability. It has only gone out *once* that I can recall, in 45 years. That was fixed within 2 hours because a squirrel had chewed thru the old line going into the house. Back when I was like 15 or so.

    • I definitely agree that POTS is very reliable.

      But we had less luck than you when we had it. Downed tree and random issues plagued our old copper lines way back when we had them.

      Not THAT often, but maybe every 1-2 years something would go wrong and it would take a few hours (or the next day) to resolve.

      As opposed to FIOS phone service, which during all of these big power outages we've had became useless after the battery on the Fiber box went out in like ?8? hours.

  • I've had a cell phone for over ten years, and I've been on Skype for about five years -- but it's good to have a land line as a backup, if only for 911 access.

    Then again, the last time I called 911 (my mother-in-law fell and broke her shoulder while helping me clean up my driveway) it was from my cell phone, just because that phone was the closest to hand.

    And 90% of the calls I get on the land-line are people wanting to clean my air ducts (I keep telling them I have radiators) or clean my carpets (I keep te

  • by DigitalSorceress (156609) on Monday January 21, 2013 @01:57PM (#42648869)

    For me, my answer depends - if you mean "POTS", then oh gosh a year or more? I don't recall. However, I use a VOIP desk phone at work - so it shares the physical attributes of a land line, but not the technological attributes. The whole thing is pure digital as soon as the mic signal is converted in or the final step of digital to analog causes the earpieces to produce sound coming out.

    So years or more for POTS, but only this week for a physical phone as opposed to cellular.

  • to complain again with the customer service of my cellphone company. My SIM card is gone, you insensitive clod!
  • Bad Timing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by devnullkac (223246) on Monday January 21, 2013 @02:40PM (#42649331) Homepage

    The most common interpretation of "this month" and "this year" would have them meaning the same thing. Perhaps if this was the New Year's Day poll, we could get the first four answers all meaning the same thing!

    • by Jeremi (14640)

      The last time I used a land line was in December 2012, so none of the options apply to me :^P

  • by DoraLives (622001) on Monday January 21, 2013 @02:50PM (#42649467)
    ...I find myself dealing with land lines a lot.

    Furthermore, trying to set people up with Google Voice, and the dedicated phone number that goes with that, can be exceedingly pesty when attempting to verify your legitimacy using a cell phone. For some reason or other, Google doesn't like a surprising fraction of cell-phone numbers, and refuses to verify with them, but it's never failed yet with a good old fashioned land line. Does anybody know why this is?
  • I used a landline phone just recently. It made an excellent chew-toy, rattle, hammer, button pushing toy and number lesson for my baby daughter. It worked much better than my cell phone for these purposes too!
  • Trying out MagicJack, pretty hopeful at the moment, could drop Uverse phone and pay $40 a year... my contract just came up and right now it's $40 a month...

    We are keeping the home phone just because of the kids. I'm not about to buy a 2 and 3 year olds phones, and with another on the way I want to make sure the phone is there without having to remember where you put your cell or if it is charged up or not... this should do that for us at a much cheaper rate. (we hope)

  • I would like to get rid of our "land line". We're paying $40/month or so for it, but in my view there's little point anymore. My wife, daughter, and I all have cell phones; and I've explained how a VoIP phone could accomplish the same thing while saving us money... but the wife is resistant.

    Part of the reason I find the "safety" argument silly is that we, like many other people, now only have wireless handsets for the home phone - so it's not like that'll work when the power goes out! Last time that happene

  • by DrDitto (962751) on Monday January 21, 2013 @03:59PM (#42650307)
    I can't stand talking on mobile phones. I'm really sensitive to noise, and mobile codecs are typically in the 9.6 to 14.4 Kbps range. A POTS landline is 56 Kbps and it makes a HUGE difference for me, even if the other side is using a mobile phone (since the signal is garbled/compressed once instead of twice).
  • Or are we talking about the old fashion copper lines only?

  • It's something that you get to reduce the price of your Internet access in most of the U.S. (The "bundles" offered by the telcos and cable TV providers here are almost always less expensive that Internet service by itself.)

  • If you mean "a NANP-numbered phone line that uses a conventional RJ-11-connected telephone to a jack in the wall of a domicile," then yesterday.

    But it's connected to a VOIP box that goes through my internet connection...

    For a personal POTS/PSTN-connected line, I'd have to go back to 1999. I've only had cellular and VOIP since then. Even when I've had DSL since then, I haven't had a personal POTS line. I did have a POTS business line running to my home until 2010, although the number was forwarded 99% of

  • I live in an apartment building and only use the landline to buzz someone in. I am currently using Comcast for the landline service. I have explored getting something else but here is the problem.

    You lose the package deal with you remove one of the 3 services. Comcast does this to prevent you from leaving of course. But, the advantage to having the phone service is uptime. VoIP providers (at least here) are required to restore service quickly. If my internet connection is down, I generally get my rest

  • I've been using VoIP (over cable Internet) for about 7 or 8 years. I believe POTS is not even available where I live now. CenturyLink (Ma Bell remnant) sells VoIP over DSL instead.
    So I voted "over 1 year".

  • About 3 years ago, maybe a little more, I decided to cancel my phone line with Cox. The main reason being that I only received calls from debtors asking for the phone number's previous holder. Family and friends all called my cell. I was pretty much paying $20 a month for someone to irritate the piss out of me. So I called up Cox and asked them to cancel my phone services. I know they are supposed to try and get me to keep the service when I call to cancel, but I had pretty much had enough, as I had re
  • My mom normally calls me on the landline, and vice-versa. I prefer the sound quality, and we normally talk when I'm home anyway.

  • How else would I know where I left my mobile phone?
  • Years. As in, at least half or a full decade.

    I am honestly considering getting my own landline service with long distance at some point in the future, though. Cell companies tend to fuck you over on minutes far more, plus the added reliability of a traditional phone line is a plus. But as long as Google Voice VoIP remains free for yet another year, I have no reason to rush. The problem is I have no traditional telephones, so I need to decide on a phone (or phones) to get as well as which service provide

There is one way to find out if a man is honest -- ask him. If he says "Yes" you know he is crooked. -- Groucho Marx


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