News Article: “How to Cut the Beastly Cost of Digital Services

Right now I live in the Kansas City metro area. My internet services is currently through Time Warner Cable, and I love the service we receive. It’s much better than the DSL service I had previously through Qwest while living in the Des Moines metro area.

While with Qwest, I was paying about $43/month for a 7Mb down/896K up DSL service bundled with DirecTV with DVR and a home phone line. The total package came to about $130/month, plus I had a family cell phone plan covering my phone and my fiancée’s phone.

Since moving to Kansas City, we have Internet through Time Warner, we don’t have any advanced television service (cable or satellite), and we don’t have a landline. We only have our cell phones (through AT&T wireless). One thing that worried me with only having our cell phones was 911 service – as anyone should be.

But after securing an apartment in Kansas City and starting some essential services, like power, I held off on starting landline service because a basic landline couldn’t be ordered online through AT&T’s web site. I would have to stop into an AT&T store or call in to start service. So I held off. We were still in the middle of a move, I had my cell phone, so I wasn’t worried.

I’ve had to call 911 from my cell phone before. On December 2, 2005, I was involved in a minor traffic accident in downtown Des Moines, and I was the one who summoned police. No injuries in that accident – well just injuries to wallets…

But the one event that told me that going with a landline was likely not going to be necessary occurred during the early morning hours of March 22, 2009, on Interstate 35 southbound toward Kansas City outside Cameron, Missouri. I witnessed a car roll over into the median and stopped to offer assistance. My fiancée pulled out her cell phone and summoned emergency services.

Now being on a cellular phone, 911 might be a little flaky depending on where you are. AT&T’s Terms of Service includes a disclaimer that connection to a 911 service in a timely manner cannot be guaranteed. My parents live in the country, so I would not be trusting 911 on my cell phone out there, let alone trusting my cell phone at all.

Being on the Interstate, if 911 could not be connected through anyone’s service, someone would have to drive into town and find a phone. Since we were only a mile out from a reasonable size city, not connecting to 911 would’ve definitely said something about AT&T’s service.

But since my fiancée was able to connect through to 911, and sirens were within hearing distance within 5 minutes later, lights not long after that, my only reservation about not going with a landline was settled and I opted against the landline.

So unless you have problems connecting to 911 on your cell phone – your provider can probably help you assess this without you potentially breaking the law by dialing 911 “just to check” – you can probably do without a landline. And for those of you on pre-paid plans, calls to 911 do not use your minutes.