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.
Mignon's elderly mother had a copper landline, but lately, it stopped working. Leo says that the phone company doesn't want her to have those anymore, they want to move to newer technologies like fiber optic. But Mignon wants an always-on option, plus the internet. Leo says that DSL Extreme may be able to help. The phone company may have a battery backup that they will install. A cheap or lifeline cellphone could also be an option.
Gloria is having trouble getting a local radio station over her landline. Leo says that often happens when living near a powerful 50,000 watt radio station. It can not only leach into phone lines, but also teeth fillings. She also has a modem connected via splitter so she can plug in her phone. Leo says to try removing everything and plug the phone directly into the wall. Leo suspects the phone line was accidentally cut, and she should call the phone company.
Keetahn wants to know if he can hardwire a speaker to his cell phone that will let people hear the phone ringing in another room. Leo says that a Bluetooth speaker would be ideal, but the problem is that it can lose connectivity and would need re-pairing. Leo says the best is a base station corded phone that he can pair with his cell phone service.
Judy has been switched to Frontier and now her landline has vanished. So she can't call out or receive calls. Is there a way she can just get her internet from a MiFi and smartphones? Leo says absolutely. The MiFi would allow her to use apps like Skype, Tango, and others to purchase minutes to call any landline using it. Then she'd have a phone number. The downside is that she won't have 911 support. So when she dials 911, she'd get a regional center and it's harder for them to find exactly where she is.
Tella wants to know if she can change her ringtones from her regular landline phone. Leo says that she could do it with a mobile phone, but for landlines, it's built into the phone. She can change the duration or frequency of rings, but not the ring itself.
Paul just upgraded to an Apple iPhone 6 Plus, but every time he gets a call from a landline, he gets an echo. Could it be the Wi-Fi calling feature or noise suppression? Could it be a T-Mobile issue? Leo doesn't think so. But it could be a delay when talking from Wi-Fi or cellular to the landline. This is an odd issue that often happens on the radio show. And they've never been able to track it down. Leo says to get Apple to replace the iPhone. If it still happens, it's the network, not the phone.
John made the change from land lines to cellphones and he's been told by Verizon to keep that corded phone plugged in to make 911 calls. Leo says that's a great idea and good on Verizon if that's true.
He's also heard of the text 911 service. Leo says that's an interesting concept, especially if you're disabled or have accessibility issues. Or even of you are in danger and can't actually make a phone call. Still, though, it seems a bit odd. Leo would stick with the landline, and thinks it would be a great idea if a phone company offered free emergency service.
Rob owns a business and he uses a telephone system called Ooma. Leo says that Ooma is great, and he recently did a KnowHow episode about it. Rob's concerned that being forced into a lifetime subscription may leave users high and dry if it goes out of business. However, it's been around for a few years now and the longer it stays in business, the more likely it'll stay around.