Landlines Still Around Because of 911 Myth?

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — For years I've been clinging to my landline service, until yesterday. The final straw? The $60.92 bill for Complete Choice Enhanced service including RingMaster, Call Waiting, Call Forwarding, Ring Control and a bunch of other services that I don't use, let alone understand. Not to mention the surcharges, taxes, fees – and "inside wire protection." What the hell is that?

I wasn't just paying for one line, but two. My wife and I had been telling ourselves that we needed the lines in order to have one for calls and one for faxes. She said that yesterday and I laughed. Faxes? Who sends faxes anymore?

And the only calls we were getting on the landline were from people wanting to sell us walk-in tubs, cruise vacations and time shares. Or, to notify us that our debit card from a credit union that we don't belong to had been locked. Of course, we're on the national Do Not Call List, but it seems solicitors use that as a phone book.

According to the Census Bureau, 89% of Americans had cell phones as of 2011; 71% also still had landlines. We carry our phones with us everywhere we go, so what's up with having one shackled to a kitchen counter at home?

Then my wife said, "Yeah, but what about 911 service?" Oh well, that. There is still this hang-up that people have -- that they need a landline associated to a fixed address in order to allow emergency 911 operators to know where they are in case they are unable to speak or something. That's a myth, right? Perhaps to a degree.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that over 70% of 911 calls are placed from wireless phones. But while the Commission says wireless phones can be an important public safety tool, they can also be a challenge for emergency response personnel.