Anchor Intro: According to a recent poll by Harris Interactive, four of five Americans still have a traditional land-line telephone. The others either use a cell exclusively or an Internet phone, known as voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP. Are you ready to cut the cord for good? Bankrate.com has some tips to help you decide.
Voice over 1: It's arguably the most widespread technology the world has ever known: the traditional telephone. But thanks to high prices and newer options, there are those who think its days may be numbered.
Voice over 2: The traditional phone is being threatened by two cord-cutting technologies: The cell phone, now used as one and only phone by 14 percent of American adults.
Voice over 3: And Voice-Over-Internet: routing calls over the Web. Now used by one in seven adults as either a land-line supplement or replacement.
Voice over 4: One word will explain why so many people are answering the Voice over Internet call: cost. Vonage, AT&T and Verizon all offer service for around $25,: roughly half the cost of many traditional land line with the same features.
Voice over 5: And T-Mobile recently lowered the bar by introducing a service for $10 a month. There are catches: You have to be a T-Mobile sSubscriber, sign a two-year contract and pay $50 for a router, but this could mark the first shot in a Voice Over Internet price war.
Voice over 6: Still, before you cut the cord and jump on the Voice-Over-Internet bandwagon, consider the drawbacks of this technology: First, unlike traditional land lines, Voice Over Internet requires electricity. So if your power's out, so's your phone. You've also got to have a broadband connection, and if it's low-quality, your calls will be too.
Standup: Bottom line? While land lines may someday go the way of the buggy whip, today they do have certain advantages. Now whether they're worth the extra money you pay -- that's a call you'll have to make. For Bankrate.com, I'm Kristin Arnold.