Got broadband?

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#1
As most of you know, I recently moved back to OK.... finally able to get cable internet, very cool. Did I mention that I hate satellite?

Checked into Vonage, the Voice Over IP (voIP) "phone company". Problem is, there is some phone company here I've never heard of (TDS) and no long distance (local or otherwise) competition. Their LD rates are way high (Scooter's mom/family is 40 miles away and LD). Sprint and MCI both want $60/month for 1,000 minutes!

Long story short, I ordered-up Vonage. Package arrives in the mail that includes a router (netgear) and an ATA (Cisco)... simple instruction set. 15 minutes later I'm making local and long distance calls over the web, on my regular phone. Sound quality is superb. Voice mail, call waiting, forwarding, every feature imaginable. Voice mail emails me the voice mails when they arrive (the actual voice mail that I can listen to on the PC)... etc., etc.

I'll post back with more info as I use the system more, but having done my research, I can tell ya this is COOL stuff. You can pick any area code you want (actually OK is not on their list yet, but will be in the 1st qtr), I selected a Illinois area code for my number... all my FBI buds and family up there dial me as if I am a local number... ie; no LD charges :) You can add as many "virtual" numbers as you like for $4 a month... meaning you could setup numbers in several states so all your friends/family can call you for local calling charges. Sweet.

Oh and the $60 a month from Sprint and MCI? Add another $14 to that in various taxes, fees, etc. Vonage? 34.95 +1.50 (some federal tax). Period. Unlimited national calling and very low international rates.

If your cable connection tends to fail a lot, it won't be a good option. Even if it only goes down occasionally, most of us still have cell phones.

As soon as there are local OK area codes to pick, I'm shutting the "normal" phone off. Taking the month bill down from $27 for the basic line and $74 for 1,000 minutes of LD (total= $101 if there is no extra charge for LD minutes) to $36.45. That's $64 bucks a month the telcos aint gettin'!!

Okay, why am I taking the time to write all this.

Because;

PHONE COMPANIES SUCK!!
 

JPIVEY

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#2
I'm glad you posted this, I'm very interested but, nobody around here has heard about it.

I'll be watching this one

Tanks
 
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#3
I should add that there are cheaper plans with vonage as well...
they have an unlimited local/regional + 500 LD (3.9 cents after) for $24.99

I can tell ya that after several calls, the sound quality is excellent.

If anyone is interested in finding out more let me know, thru a referral thing I can get you a free month if you decided to do it. Yes, I'd get a free month too :) It's a no obligation thing.
 
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#6
Here's a good article via Broadband Reports:

Ditching Your Landline
Is your home phone becoming obsolete?

Written by Karl Bode
VoIP is everywhere, wireless quality and coverage is improving, and broadband prices are dropping; is it time to ditch your home phone?. -

The copper running into your home costs little to really maintain, yet you'd be hard pressed to remember the last time you saw a price reduction on your phone bill. In fact, the majority of the fees on your line aren't only inflated, many are simply unnecessary. That's before you even get to the recent estimates by consumer advocates indicating that 50% of phone bills contain errors that cost consumers and businesses money.

According to the Florida Public Service Commission, call waiting costs less than a penny to provide, yet you're charged $2-5 a month for the service (usually double that for businesses). "Touchtone" costs nothing to provide, yet you're charged between $1 and $3 a month. Since 1984, installation fees have risen approximately 900% according to Consumer advocate website Teletruth, yet the process of providing service usually requires little more than flipping a switch.

Assuming you've already got broadband and a mobile phone, is it finally time to ditch that bloated landline and trim the fat from your monthly budget?

As we reported recently, VoIP competition has gotten almost rabid. There's a price war on among competitors like Vonage, and there's a growing number of free services like Skype and Free World Dial-Up with impressive user bases. Skype, a p2p VoIP application from the makers of Kazaa, saw 125,000 users sign up for service in just 8 weeks. Jeff Pulver's Free World Dial-Up has already signed up more than 50,000 users (keep in mind these free services require call recipients to have the same service).

So VoIP is everywhere, and your cellphone does everything your landline does, usually for less. Broadband prices are slowly dropping. What's keeping many users from getting rid of their copper?

Hostage Negotiations
Many DSL & mobile users would love to ditch their landline, but find themselves at the mercy of their local Bell. Many bells have adopted the tactic of disconnecting DSL subscribers who switch their local phone service, something we explored in a recent BBR article. They've also refused to isolate the dial-tone from the data pipe, leaving DSL users with mobile phones connected to voice service whether they like it or not. It's one aspect that makes cable broadband a more attractive option.

Press 1 to continue in English
One problem users who go cell only often face is problems when attempting to navigate automated phone menus. The garbled DTMF tones associated with many mobile phones often aren't recognized by a few of the older systems (in fact some of these systems won't even work properly with a cordless phone). Fortunately, using a phone tone generator from Radio Shack can often help users avoid this increasingly rare problem.

Stuck in the Eighties
Not only will some older phone navigation systems not recognize cellphone tones, there's a number of people whose building intercom systems require landline connectivity. Some credit card companies require a reference phone number that exists in your zip code, refusing new applications from users who have out of code cell phone numbers. There are certain security systems that require a home landline as well. There's even some restaurants won't deliver to cell-phone users either, so keep this in mind. These are all fairly uncommon, but do occur.

911 is a joke in your town
Broadband users who ditch their landline and go the VoIP route for home connectivity must understand they're simply not going to have quality 911 service (for now). If you explore the concerns voiced in this thread in our VoIP forum, E-911 services leave plenty to be desired, and many users may not realize the technology doesn't work until they actually need to use it. Users report busy signals, or being connected to the wrong substation - one user was apparently even connected to an insurance agent. Not helpful the next time Aunt Bessie has a heart attack.

There's a push on the state level to regulate VoIP, many lawmakers claiming they're concerned unregulated 911 service could prove dangerous, when in reality they're primarily interested in tapping into the potential tax revenue. But as VoIP becomes more popular, and some users consider ditching their land-line, there's emerging questions about who will ensure that these services work as advertised. Even then, a power outage (assuming you have no backup power) means no 911 service.

After the recent power outage on the east coast, SBC took the opportunity to "warn" consumers that it's in their best interest to maintain their land-lines "for safety".

I love my Tivo
Another problem that arises for users who have Tivo and want to ditch their landline is the fact the Tivo units still utilize dial-up connectivity to confirm program orders. Vonage clearly states in their equipment FAQ that their VoIP service does not support DirecTV and Tivo, though Vonage anticipates a solution "shortly". It's an issue that pops up often in blogs across the web (PVR blog).

According to users in our Satellite and TV forum however, the land-line is only used to "poll" Tivo devices, and may not be necessary. If you can confirm or deny this, please post in the comments section below this story to assist your fellow Tivo/DirecTV fans.

No, I can't hear you now
As we noted even in a report back in early 2002, Japan is a techno wonderland of wireless communications. They're already exploring fourth generation wireless while we're still trying to get sluggish traditional service to wireless areas. The only true third generation wireless service in the U.S. is provided by Verizon, and that's only available in Washington D.C. or San Diego for $80 a month. Granted, Japan is the size of California, so some of our problems are clearly geographical. Depending on your provider, there's still vast stretches of America where service is sketchy at best, even in densely populated areas.

You can't escape from telemarketer hell...
It's commonly believed that telemarketers can't call you on your cell phone. According to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), it's illegal for companies to deliver unsolicited advertisements to any service that charges you for the call. This hasn't stopped many marketers, and the problem may only get worse with the shift to number portability (the ability to maintain one number across services).

Within the new guidelines, there's no real way for telemarketers to determine whether or not a user has transferred a home phone number to their cell, so telemarketing calls to your cellphone will likely increase as number portability hits this fall. For the time being, the FCC hasn't really addressed this concern.

Just Because...
Despite the slow replacement of faxes with e-mail attachments and e-fax services, many users still prefer the connectivity screech of a traditional fax machine. Others like the idea of having a dial-up line as a convenient backup. Some users are irritated by the size, feel or voice quality of a cell-phone, and aren't necessarily interested in making calls via their PC. For those users, they might want to explore equipment like this Cellular Base Station, which lets you connect traditional phone equipment to alternative networks (We don't support, recommend, or vouch for the linked CellAntenna corporation, simply linking it as an example).

People who conduct or participate in phone interviews prefer the quality of a landline speakerphone conversation. Users with bad credit often aren't thrilled about the down payment sometimes required for new cellphone service. There's also a large number of paranoid (or perhaps criminally minded) Americans who feel a landline will offer them better security. Users who responded to a recent BBR poll indicate they may ditch their landline if VoIP reliability improves, though almost as many indicated they'd "never" make the move.

Maybe you have big fingers, perhaps you have DSL, or perhaps you're stuck in the matrix and need your land-line as an escape alternative. Whatever the reason, there's millions of users who cling to their landlines. What's your reason? Has the time come for you to ditch your copper?
 

JPIVEY

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#11
This is funny, I have cable Internet and mobile phone, all on family talk, I hardly ever use my land line and I pay almost 40.00 and that with no phone calls.





MONTHLY SERVICE - BASIC (Oct 22 to Nov 22)

Residence line 17.25
Interstate Subscriber Line Charge 6.50
Interstate non-primary access 7.00

BASIC SERVICE TAXES AND SURCHARGES
Federal excise tax at 3.00% 2.30
Funding to support the Public Utilities Commission .06
911 State Tax .38
Temporary surcharge as allowed by Public Utilities Commission CR .37
California Relay Service and Communications Devices Fund .02
California Teleconnect Fund surcharge 0.0%
CA High Cost Fund - B 1.39
CA Universal Lifeline Telephone Service .62
CA High Cost Fund - A .11
Svc Provider Number Portability Fee 1.08
Federal Universal Service Fee .64
Federal Universal Service Fee 1.36
 

XRpredator

AssClown SuperPowers
Damn Yankees
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#12
TDS Telecom? They bought up some of the local phone companies around here. Interesting . . .
 
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#13
That's them Pred... soon to be my X-Telco. They own US Cellular too.

Yeah JPIVEY... and if you call and ask them what a phone line costs, they'll tell ya "$17.00", lol.
 

Danman

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#14
We tested one of those out for my work. We have a NYC number that rings here in Texas as they didn't have gateway in my town. They are cool and they realy work from a whole bunch of locations. I took one with me on a trip to show some clients that I was working with. So if you go on a trip and you know you will have High speed access you cna take the router with you and your phone will ring as long as your plugged and nobody will have to use LD to call you.

SIP is going to become pretty large in the coming years.

Also, if you want more info

http://www.sipcenter.com/vsts/vsts_az.html

This is a pretty good link to.