SO it’s goodbye to the landline, which feels like hello to the unknown. Am I alone in feeling a bit uneasy at the thought of not having a landline phone that I never even use?

I have no idea what my home phone number is. I think I’ve used the landline once, maybe twice, in recent years. But I’ve hung onto it because not having a phone connection feels somehow rudderless.

With one in five households getting rid of landlines, they’re becoming a thing of the past. And in a digital shake-up that’s set to be completed by 2025, all households and businesses will require the internet or mobiles to make a phone-call. It means many older and vulnerable households not currently online will be forced to pay to have an internet connection installed, or rely on a mobile phone. And in rural areas where internet connection and mobile signals are poor, the phone will be unreliable, which doesn’t seem a particularly efficient way forward.

My mobile reception is so poor at home I can only make and take calls in one room, hovering between the window and the wardrobe, and even then, infuriatingly, the ‘phone often cuts out mid-conversation. But in an emergency I can at least rely on my landline.

Having a home phone creates a sense of being rooted. It wasn’t always a thing - “Are you on the phone?” people used to say when I was a kid. If you had a telephone, it was probably rented. We had a standard black dial-up phone, rented, inconveniently placed near the telly in the living-room, so there was little chance of using it in peace or privacy.

Much more glamorous was our neighbour’s brown Trimphone, which had its own telephone table and a little wooden money box. Even more glamorous were households with more than one phone! If you had a phone upstairs, as well as a downstairs phone, you were pretty much Joan Collins in Dynasty as far as I was concerned.

From a young age we were trained to answer phone-calls by reciting the phone number in a robotic monotone. Out of all the phone numbers I’ve had over the years, that old home number is the one forever etched onto my brain.

As a teenager, if I wanted to call a pal, or a boy, in private I’d often have to use the grubby phone box down the road. Now phone boxes, like the pips and party lines, are long gone. As is the phone directory and the Yellow Pages - something we all had well-thumbed copies of on our desks when I started in journalism. And remember the ‘telephone book’, containing neatly handwritten numbers of friends and family? My sister asked her teenage son to get hers out of a drawer the other day and she might as well have spoken to him in Japanese. “What even is that?” he said, looking baffled.

A phone isn’t just a phone anymore. People’s lives are in their mobiles - family photos, daily schedules, appointment reminders, contact details - but there’s still something to be said for having a ‘home phone’. If households have to rely on the internet for this, where does that leave them in a power cut? Around half a million households don’t own a mobile.

The digital switch-over smacks of corporate greed to me. It’s already causing distress to many older people. My 90-year-old aunt’s phone is her lifeline, I can’t imagine how she’d cope with an internet connection at her age. There’s no way she’d use a mobile.

Older people risk falling victim to digital scams too. “Give me three rings when you’re home,” people used to say. Those days of looking out for each other have gone with the the pips.