Since the advent of wireless phones, landline use has been slowly but steadily dwindling. As of 2017, 52.5% of households didn’t even have landline service. Still, landline service maintains a place in an increasingly wireless world, especially among businesses and consumers who live in rural areas where wireless service isn’t always so reliable.

For those who still want or need landline service for their home or business, there are two options available. Traditional copper wire landlines and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service. But how do you determine which is right for you?

What is VoIP?

VoIP utilizes existing internet service to transmit your voice. At the most basic level, it works exactly like a traditional landline, with the exception being that your phone system plugs into your modem rather than a phone jack. On top of that, VoIP often includes a host of handy features like voicemail, caller ID, caller blocking, and directory assistance. With a VoIP phone, these normally come at no additional charge, while these features would otherwise incur additional fees with traditional service.

While VoIP once had a reputation for low call quality and reliability, fast and reliable internet has become more the norm in recent years and these problems have all but disappeared, making VoIP a viable alternative.

Choosing VoIP is also an excellent way to keep your monthly expenses down. According to data from GetVoIP, residential VoIP service costs between around $5 and $20 a month, while traditional landline service will cost you between $30 and $50 on average, depending upon your location and provider.

And the savings only increase from there for businesses. In addition to having a lower per-user rate than traditional service, VoIP eliminates much of the initial setup cost necessary for phone systems with multiple lines and extensions by bringing the complex mess of wiring required for traditional service into the digital realm. The myriad of wiring that once occupied a dedicated closet at many offices can now be contained inside of your office’s telephones, freeing up space for other purposes. On top of that, the added functionality of VoIP devices will save employees time, enabling them to more easily check voicemail, forward calls, and so on.

Don’t know if you should switch to VoIP? Don’t want to change providers? You can always lower your phone costs by having BillFixers negotiate your current plan. You’ll keep all the same services, just at a lower rate!

Another advantage of VoIP service is that if you already have cable and internet service, chances are that your provider will offer you a larger bundle discount if you add VoIP service to your bill. That’s right — adding a landline to your existing service will usually reduce your bill, even if you don’t actually need the phone service!

While VoIP service transmits your voice as data over an internet connection, traditional landlines use dedicated copper wires that have been purpose built for telephony for over a century. This gives traditional landline service a slight edge in reliability. The signal will transmit clearly and quickly without being subject to internet speed or bandwidth, and as the minimal amount of power required to operate a wired telephone is supplied through the phone line, it will continue to function in the event of a power outage. In fact, this is one of the main reason why customers with traditional landline service are sometimes hesitant to make a switch. Customers with home security services often prefer traditional landlines, which they can trust to remain operational in any emergency.

So, VoIP or Traditional Landline?

While the high-speed internet that makes VoIP a good choice has become more readily available, there are still many who lack access to fast, reliable internet. For those consumers and businesses, a traditional landline may still be the best route until high-speed internet becomes available to everyone.

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Shayne Jacopian is a photographer, musician, and Customer Experience Specialist at BillFixers. He is based in Nashville, TN.