JC has a landline for emergencies. Leo says that's a good idea because wired phones don't go out when there's a disaster. It's a smart thing to do. 911 is also far more accurate with physical landlines, versus cellphones that rely on e911 or Regional 911 service, which relies on GPS. But why is universal lifeline service so expensive? He pays over $60 a month! Leo says that's outrageous. Things are so much different now, that you can rely more on phase 2 e911, which is getting your address from GPS longitude and latitude.
Jim as a Tracfone pay as you go phone and wants to know if he can port his home phone to it? Leo says that there is an FCC rule that says you should be able to port your landline to the phone, but you may lose the use of the number during the transfer. That would include 911 service. Also, using a cellphone as your number will have to rely on regional or e911 services, which doesn't know where you are exactly. Also, if you move, you may lose the use of the number because of your geographic location.
But according to the FCC, you can.
Catherine wants to know that since everyone has a cellphone now, is it a waste of money to have a landline? Leo says that most people don't have landlines, but the issue is that with 911, they know your location on a landline. They can send police and fire directly to you. But with mobile devices, the 911 is "e911" which is a regional 911. They don't really know where you are, other than your GPS coordinates. Then they have to forward your call to a local fire and police department.
Jeff has kept his landline because his dad taught him to keep it in case of emergencies and natural disasters. Leo agrees but says phone companies are now relying on internet service for a lot of their service. They're even cutting the copper phone lines so they don't have to maintain them anymore. That's where HAM radio operators come in hand during a disaster. But he can still get universal lifeline service for under $10/month, and it's Real 911. Make sure it's powered by the central office.
Jean wants to dump her AT&T phone service and use VOIP with the internet via Ooma. Leo says she can, but she'll be giving up precise 911 service. So if she has a cell phone, she can call 911. But that will be a regional e911 service, which will slow down response times. Ooma does offer 911 service to her registered address, but she'll have to pay for it, and if the power goes out, she'll lose her phone too. So its a mixed bag.
Maurice says that Echo is a great idea, and Amazon's $35 Connect box makes it possible to call 911 in emergency situations. Rich says that Echo is designed to not dial 911 because the infrastructure isn't set up for it yet. That's why the optional connect box is a good idea until they get it figured out. But it also has to do with location services for 911. It has to know where the emergency really is.
Mike can buy a new modem and avoid the monthly charge from Time Warner. He can get a Motorola SB6141 modem from Amazon for about $80, but he's also having to pay for his phone service through Time Warner. He's thinking about using Ooma instead, but he currently has 7 items on his phone line, and he's wondering Ooma will be able to handle the REN, or Ringer Equivalency Number. Leo says it will do that, but the main issue is e-911. VOIP won't give him regional 911 (E911), it gives him statewide 911, which usually routes to the State police.