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If you go away you cannot connect normal phone to wall phone socket and turn modem. The phone service is no longer delivered as a separate analogue signal over the copper wires. It is delivered as part of the digital data and a modem is required to convert the signal back to a normal analogue signal compatible with a normal phone which can be plugged into green phone socket on the back of the modem.
It is okay to turn modem off while away. If the modem is turned off all incoming calls will be redirected to message bank.