Letters to the Editor: You’ll wish you had a landline when a hurricane strikes

The number of U.S. households with both cellphones and landlines is dwindling.
(Chelsea Fisher / Getty Images/Flickr

To the editor: Columnist Nicholas Goldberg presents various arguments on whether to keep or get rid of his landline. I have one reason in particular to keep mine.

In 2017, when Hurricane Maria was hammering Puerto Rico, few people could get through to residents of the island because cell towers were down. If you had a satellite phone, you could get through.

I tried reaching my sister in Puerto Rico, who has a landline. In spite of the storm raging, I was able to get through to her and found out that everyone was OK.


This showed me that a reason to keep a landline is reliability, because when all cell communication was down, the landline allowed us to make contact.

Carlos Silva, Upland


To the editor: Like Goldberg and his wife, I have been holding on to my landline. For me, it has been more than 50 years, and for most of the time it has been very reliable, even during an earthquake.

But suddenly, this year, when we had any rain, my landline would go out. I reported the issue to AT&T, which has sent out a technician, but it appears the problem has not been or maybe cannot be fixed. With the slightest bit of moisture, I have no phone.

The technician told me that the lines are very old, which is understandable since I have a house built in 1928. It appears to me that AT&T may not want to invest the time and money to repair the lines because so many people no longer want a landline.

As Goldberg points out, most of the calls these days are spam, scams or solicitations. But, I find it hard to “cut the cord,” so to speak. It is nice to know that I am not alone.

Liz Sherwin, Los Angeles



To the editor: There is one obvious reason to keep a landline: How else do you locate your cellphone?

You can hang up on a robocall or not answer at all, but landlines can find cellphones in a nanosecond. They are the ultimate time saver. No more scouring the upstairs, downstairs, garage, car, purse, grocery bag, laundry basket or recycle bin for that elusive cellphone.

Punch in a few numbers, et voila, phone found.

Karen Wullich, La Jolla


To the editor: While I share Goldberg’s annoyance at landline robocalls, there is a sad irony implicit in his observations: I read them in a printed newspaper, another waning holdover from a bygone era facing obloquy, disuse and extinction.

David R. Ginsburg, Los Angeles