From the “Not-So-Magical” Files – Let’s Talk About Phone Lines


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From the “Not-So-Magical” Files
Let’s Talk About Phone Lines

Landline phone?

Plain old telephone service?

Do either of these even exist any longer? Well, they do, but let me tell you something; it’s not so easy to get and apparently large companies like Comcast for example, don’t understand what it is.

We recently bought a house and are once again homeowners, something we have not been since 2009 before I suddenly lost my job.  We had the same phone number back home in Seattle for 16 years! I need a landline for work and the specifications are pretty simple: A) You need to have a landline phone B) The line cannot be voice over IP C) You cannot use things like MagicJack. Sounds simple enough, right?

Since we have both our cable and internet service through Comcast, I decided to give them a call to find out who offers this plain old telephone service. Would you believe that the person on the other end of my line explained their phone service to me, said it was NOT voice over IP and that it is considered plain old telephone service with the only difference being that the phone line runs through the cable wire instead of a phone wire? He went on to say how it’s better service because the cable wire is newer and far more reliable than the old phone lines were. Fair enough.

The person I spoke with was nice and all, but I didn’t believe it so I called back later on and spoke with another agent who told me the same thing. I called back again (twice) only to be given the very same information a third and fourth time. The whole thing just sounded hokey to me, but just because I hadn’t heard of Comcast ever offering plain old telephone service didn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. So, despite my hesitation on the matter, I went ahead and ordered their plain old telephone service and had it hooked up because, as a consumer, I chose to believe what this large, reputable company told me.

A couple weeks later when I was running some tests on my system and getting things connected, I found out that the phone line would not be plugging into the telephone jack in the wall, but into the back of the modem. Yes, that’s right. The back of the modem . . . same place where the ethernet cords are plugged into.

Really, Comcast?

It does not take a genius to realize that a phone line that plugs into a modem is not and will never be considered plain old telephone service. You see, a phone line should not plug into a modem if it’s just a phone line.

Meanwhile, the only company in my area that offers legitimate PLAIN OLD TELEPHONE SERVICE is AT&T. Thankfully, they are able to just grab the same phone number and switch it over for us. It takes some time for it to be installed because of something to do with the 911 system, but it will plug into my phone jack when it’s connected.

I can hardly believe that something that should have been so easy has been dragging on for weeks. Moving is a big enough pain all by itself and I surely had no intentions of unnecessarily adding another pain in the neck to the pile. I’ll be thrilled if sharing this information will save even one of you from dealing with this hassle!


  1. We have phone through our cable company, BUT a cord plugs in from the phone jack to the modem. Then our phone plugs into the regular phone jack in the wall.

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