How Do You Get Rid Of Your Landline When Your Landline Is Your Doorbell

For all sorts of reasons, Carin and I have been thinking a lot lately about getting rid of our house phone.

We each have cell phones. We have unlimited Canadian long distance calling on them. We don’t call the States much, but if we need to we can always buy some Skype credits for cheap. For everything else, there’s texting, Facetime, WhatsApp, Voxer and any number of other apps for talking with people. We’re storing more and more numbers in our phones’ address books all the time. If one of us is on the phone and the other one needs it, we just grab the cell and make the call without bothering to wait. We’re catching ourselves using the cells even when the regular phone is free, just because they’re right next to us or have a number we can’t remember in them. We know our own address, so we can tell 911 how to find us in case of an emergency. We have extra battery packs to charge our phones if the power goes out long enough for the battery back-ups hooked to our computers to die.

And then there’s the reason we keep coming back to the most. The landline, which 5 years ago cost $75 a month, now costs somewhere around $104. We haven’t added any services to it, nor have any been forced upon us. We’ve gotten literally 0 additional value, yet somehow Bell sees fit to take almost $30 more on each and every bill for it. And they do this as the service they provide slithers further and further down the shitter. And those are just the ones I could find without trying hard. If I didn’t get them all, I’m sure Carin can fill in the gaps.

Surely, you look at all of that and think as we do that here are some folks who are ready to take the plunge. And oh yeah, we’re so ready.

…But there’s a problem.

We live in an apartment building. Our apartment building has a secure entrance. that entrance, unless somebody holds the door open and totally defeats the purpose of it, requires anyone without a key to buzz the people they’re visiting in order to be let in. Those buzzes are done by phone. When you move in, you have to give a phone number to the office to connect your buzz code to you. Note that I said *a* phone number. Not 2 phone numbers, one phone number. Obviously, the one we gave is our landline, because of course it is. It’s the one that’s always in our house.

…And there’s the problem.

If we ditch the landline, how do we get around this? The 2 of us aren’t joined at the hip. We go places without each other all the time. Either number we change it to is going to be a problem.

We can’t be the only people in the world to ever run into this issue. I’m sure it happens to all kinds of folks. If any of those folks are you, what did you do to avoid getting saddled with a $100 per month doorbell? All feedback is appreciated, even if you’re telling us we’re screwed.

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5 comments
  1. Somebody suggested getting a VOIP line and using that for the buzzer since VOIP is so much cheaper. A $150 or what have you per year phone doorbell I can handle, as opposed to the $1200 plus per year right now. There would be some equipment to buy, but if you look at it as a long-term investment, the $100ish that could cost doesn’t seem too bad. Plus if the VOIP isn’t serving as our primary phone, we won’t have to worry about the prospect of it slowing down the internet. I’ve heard stories of phone calls cutting download speeds in half, which is one of the reasons we never switched away from conventional lines.

    We like this idea, but if you’ve got other suggestions we’d still love to hear ’em.

  2. I came across this article a few months ago. I haven’t foolowed the steps myself, but it seems totally workable to me. I believe the Qube can handle an accessible Google Voice interface, too, but don’t quote me on that: http://gizmodo.com/5850628/homemod-have-your-apartment-buzzer-ring-every-phone-in-your-home

    1. Holy shit, this sounds exactly like what we’re looking for! Need to try signing up for an account when I get a minute. Thanks!

  3. Oh good! Yeah, I thought it seemed like what you were after. Even if you have to borrow a pair of functional eyes to complete the setup, it may well be worth it.

    1. If the worst part is a CAPTCHA we should be ok. WebVisum for the win. Hopefully we won’t need eyes due to an attack of accessibility by Google.

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