I'm looking to join the growing number of people who no longer have a home phone line (landline) at their house. I was looking at my bills the other day and realized I'm paying close to $50 a month for two phones lines that I almost never use - one line is my standard home line and the other is for a business fax machine. I make and receive almost all my calls on my cell phone now, so I don't see a need to continue to have and pay for a landline.
I first thought about this several months ago. At the time, I realized that my home security system uses the landline to contact the monitoring service in case the alarm goes off. So I believed I was stuck with keeping the line if I wanted my alarm system to work. While laying in bed the other night, it dawned on me that I should call the alarm company and see if they have any options that do not require a phone line - perhaps using an internet connection or something instead. It turns out, they do! The alarm system can be set up to use radio frequencies. To switch to this, there is a $125 installation fee (they have to install a new device at my home) and my monthly bill will increase by $5.
So it's looking good for the elimination of the landlines. But the remaining hurdle is my fax machine. Receiving faxes is not a problem because there are many companies that can do that for you, convert your fax to a PDF file, and email it to you. These companies also offer sending services for sending computer files as faxes via email. However, at least two times a month, I need to fax receipts - documents that are not computer files. So to use the email fax service, I would need some way to convert these documents into a computer file.
Alternately, there is a product called Magic Jack. This device plugs into a USB port on your computer and then you can plug any regular phone into it and make voice calls using your internet connection. It might be possible to get one of these devices and plug my fax machine into it and send faxes that way. Unfortunately, Magic Jack is not guaranteed to work with faxes, so it would be a hit-or-miss proposition if I went this route.
I do not have a scanner, so if I went the email fax route, I would need to buy one to convert my receipts into computer files to fax them. A scanner with an automatic document feeder (which I want because the typical real estate contract is 15 pages long and I don't want to manually feed all those pages) runs about $300. The eFax service runs $14.13 a month, which includes 130 pages of incoming faxes and 30 pages of outgoing faxes per month. I don't see myself ever going over those amounts. Magic Jack costs $40 for the first year and $20 a year after that, but there is the possibility it won't handle faxes.
If I went the eFax and scanner route, I would save $30.34 a month by eliminating my two landlines, which includes the monthly eFax fee and increased monthly alarm fee. That means the costs for the radio alarm installation and new scanner would be recovered after 14 months.
Does anyone know of any other fax sending options I might be overlooking?