Blame it on Baby Yoda. The huge audiences for streaming shows such as “The Mandalorian” on Disney+, “Ozark” on Netflix, “Palm Springs” on Hulu and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” on Amazon Prime has convinced millions of Americans to “cut the cord” by cancelling traditional cable and satellite TV services.
Covid-19 is accelerating the trend, both because people are eager for more entertainment at home and because they’re looking to cut unnecessary expenses.
The data is dramatic: 6.6 million households in the United States are expected to cut the cord in 2020, according to the research firm eMarketer. Some 31 million households have cut the cord since the peak of pay TV in 2014 – 23 percent of the total. By 2024, the firm predicts, a full one-third of households will have cancelled pay TV services from traditional providers such as Comcast / Xfinity, Charter / Spectrum, DirecTV and Dish Network.
But wait – there’s a big “gotcha” facing many families eager to cut the cord.
Pay TV providers have for years pushed bundles of services on their customers – “double play,” “triple play,” and even “quad play” packages that may include internet data, mobile phones, home security and home phone.
Customers could be ready to give up pay TV, but don’t want to lose home phone service or their home phone number.
There is a way out of this trap!
Internet-based home phone services, such as the Ooma Telos, offer a feature called “porting”, where your home phone number can be transferred from your pay TV service to your new internet phone service.
With Ooma, you’re sure to save money – phone service is free. You only pay taxes and fees (about $4 to $7 a month in most locations). The advanced features of Ooma Premier, including a free second number, voice messages forward to email and customizable robocall blocking, add only $9.99 a month.
When you’re making the switch, just be sure not to shut off your current pay TV account until the porting process is completed and your home phone number works with your new internet-based service.
Beyond the comfort of keeping a home number that you may have shared widely with family, friends and local businesses, Ooma provides the crucial safety feature of local 911.
Every minute counts in an emergency. Mobile phones typically connect to regional call centers, where operators don’t know your location. Ooma’s home phone service provides local 911, connecting you immediately to first responders in your area and displaying your home address on their screens. This means you can get help even if you can’t speak, or if the call is being made by someone such as a babysitter or housekeeper who doesn’t know your address.
In short, cutting the cord doesn’t have to mean cutting yourself off from the comfort and security that you get from home phone service.
As Baby Yoda has (never) said, “May the phone be with you!”