GRAHAM TURNER: Some of us still depend on a landline

A personal view
A personal view

The landline is on its way out and more households are relying on mobiles to meet their communication needs.

That’s one of the conclusions drawn from latest research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation for its Minimum Income Standards report, which says working-age adults without children (among others) have decided that a landline telephone is no longer needed.

This is supported by industry figures that suggest a decline of about 10 per cent a year. It appears the only thing that’s keeping people plugged in at the moment is the lack of broadband alternatives.

4G connectivity has been hailed as the answer to our mobile broadband demands, but that is still only available in a very few areas, so I’m assuming the folk who are cutting the umbilical cord that is the telephone landline live mainly in urban areas where there’s a half decent mobile signal. For those of us who live in a rural location and don’t have a base station at the end of the street, it’ll be a bit longer before we get out the wire cutters.

We use a number of different mobile phone providers in our house, but not one of them is totally reliable.

With my own phone, for example, there’s no guarantee, but the best chance of getting a signal is to stand half in, half out of our shower room.

For my wife, it’s in one corner of our son’s bedroom.

Will we be getting rid of our landline anytime soon? I think not.

I remember when my family first got a telephone. It was 1974, I was 14 and it lived in our hall on a shelf especially put up by my Dad. The shelf was at the same (uncomfortable) height as you’d find the handset in a telephone box.

A petrol blue colour, our phone had a dial rather than buttons and, if my memory serves me right, our number had just four digits.

My Dad was rather strict about us kids making calls and, once a quarter, when the bill arrived, there would be recriminations if it was above the expected figure. To this day I’m rarely on the phone for very long, the brevity learned as a teenager has stayed with me. And my Dad, though he has an all-inclusive package with BT that covers anytime of the day or night, when he calls me it’s always after 6pm – the time the evening rate kicked in. Old (telephone) habits die hard.