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.