Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) phones are quickly replacing Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) phones for landlines. And while landlines themselves may be disappearing from many homes, that doesn't mean that those who still want landlines should have shoddy service. If you've moved and have been told by your new phone company that the only landline you can get is a VoIP line, you'll still be able to plug in your phone and make calls, but there are a few differences. One of these is the fact that, should the power go out, your phone may eventually be affected depending on the battery pack you have.
No More Independent Power
POTS lines operated independently of the local power grid. If there were blackouts, the phones still worked. You may have had to disconnect them from your answering machine, which would have lost power, but the phone itself was still usable.
Phones connected to VoIP lines are not independent of the local power grid. If the power goes out, the phone will operate only if it's attached to a battery pack. And that battery pack will not last forever.
This can be distressing for many who are switching over from copper-based POTS lines because it means a potential loss of ability to contact emergency services. The loss of power isn't just a loss of service, but an actual loss of power. When the battery runs out, the line will be dead until the power is restored. Disconnecting the drained battery and attaching the new one isn't advised because that often requires that the line be reset (akin to a computer being restarted).
Extended Packs Are Necessary
Most phone companies will provide a small battery pack that lasts a few hours with the initial line installation. However, you can get extended-life battery packs, and that's highly advisable. While most power outages last only a few hours or less, you can have long-term outages. The 2011 Southern California blackout lasted 12 hours in some areas -- longer than most basic battery packs will last -- and ice storm-related outages have been known to last for days.
If you can afford it, request a long-life battery pack from the phone service provider. You will likely have to pay an extra charge, but the peace of mind is well worth it. That landline is your lifeline in an emergency because you never know how long your cell phone battery will last.
You can also find third-party brand batteries and ask the phone company to install those. If you have other questions, contact your phone company and be adamant about having long battery life.