Gone are the days of rotary dials and telephone cords that stretched only as far as the next room over. Payphone booths are hard to find. Dialing 411 is a foreign concept.
In an age of cell phones, FaceTime and Skype, the land-line phone is becoming a thing of the past. USA TODAY reported Tuesday that some states, like Indiana and Wisconsin, have passed laws ending requirements that force phone companies to provide everyone with land-line service.
And among college students they’re virtually never used, said 24-year-old Marisa Papsin, a brand insight associate at Morsekode Agency.
“We’re (a) generation on the go,” she said. “Land lines apply to more permanent residencies. In college, let’s face it, you’re a nomad. We move around a lot.”
Madeline AuBuchon, a freshman at the University of Southern California, has yet to use a land-line at school.
“I think there is a land-line phone down the hall,” she said, “but to be honest, I have no idea.”
University of Massachusetts freshman Stephen Chan chose to ignore the school’s suggestion that he arrive to campus bearing a touch-tone telephone.
“I thought my mobile was sufficient,” he said.
Other schools are moving away from land-line service. Colorado’s Western State College removed phones from residential halls in 2009, according to its Twitter account.
Hamilton College did the same following a survey in which students said they wouldn’t use the service, said Dave Smallen, the school’s vice president of information technology.
And the University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne only sets up land-line service if asked, said Residence Hall Director Carianne Meng. She can count the number of requests each year on one hand.
At Missouri State University, students must pay for land-line service. According to the university’s residential life website, the service features an initial $50 fee followed by monthly $20 charges.
In a residential hall with over 700 students, about three rooms paid for the service, said Dan Turck, a MSU resident assistant from 2009 to 2011.
The 22-year-old entertainment management major said that RAs were given land-line phones for contact with residential hall directors. But as the year went on, the directors began calling his cell phone rather than the land-line, he said.
Turck still deals with land lines whenever he calls his father, who has yet to make the transition to mobile phone.
“It becomes very inconvenient at times when I need to reach him,” he said.
Marilee Teasley, a 23-year-old graduate student at MSU, has a land-line phone, despite being “absolutely glued” to her smart phone.
“It can be pretty unreliable at the worst moments,” she said. “I feel comfortable knowing that I have another option should my phone malfunction, lose signal or disappear… especially during an emergency.”
Teasley has another reason for sticking with land-line service. Her father works for a national telephone company and she wants to support his industry.
But there are some drawbacks to this loyalty, she said.
“My land-line number used to belong to an elderly woman who was (and still is) extremely active in her church,” said Teasley. “I get countless calls from little old ladies a few times a week calling to tell her the latest congregational gossip.”
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