You may have heard of Plain Old Telephone Service (also known as POTS). For Millennials and many more of us, this may be a foreign term. However, phone service has been delivered for over a century using two wires (sometimes referred to as landlines) from the service provider’s central office switch to their customer (us). These lines are typically buried or strung over poles (similar to some power lines).

Although many among us may scoff at the idea of having a landline, it is generally considered more reliable that VoIP (Voice over IP) service and cell phone service. The switches providing the POTS service are usually maintained in very rugged buildings capable of withstanding natural disasters and having equipment backed up with a bank of batteries (capable of providing phone service for hours, if not days) should the service provider’s building lose power for any reason. Additionally, on-site generators are also common to supplement the bank of batteries should the power-outage be protracted.

The development of cell phone service and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) has certainly curtailed the growth of POTS service in the United States. Chief among the reasons, are improved reliability, amazing developments in features, and cost (it is competitively priced). VoIP service uses your existing internet connection to packetize (convert your “analog” voice into digital data) your conversation for transportation through the internet.

There are many features available through cell phone providers and VoIP providers that are impossible to replicate in a POTS network. However, if reliability is your primary concern, you should consider retaining or obtaining POTS service for your home or place of business.