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Old 10-01-2015, 08:54 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by walkinwood View Post
We have smart phones. They always work when we're at home, and work pretty much all the time when we're not at home too!
And to the people on the other side, you sound terrible 50% of the time.
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Old 10-01-2015, 08:58 AM   #22
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The thing that I will miss the most is the ability to get a POTS dial tone not matter how long the local electrical power has been out.
Yes. This was huge in 1996 when a hurricane hit our area and knocked out power for the week. Land line phones worked. AT&T even trucked in little generators to power the system at the various termination blocks. Pretty cool.

Today I have U-verse and use their VOIP. When the power goes out, it still works -- for a while. Their VRAD/DSLAM has back up batteries, and my RG (gateway in the house) has a battery. The phone is good for about 12 hours. I can also use data. It is nice and covers most power outages. You still need an old fashioned phone, of course. Something requiring power (like most portables) won't work.

However, after about 12 hours, either my battery or the DSLAM's battery is toast. So it fails eventually.
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Old 10-01-2015, 11:51 AM   #23
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I remember growing up 99.99% reliable didn't mean much when you were on a party line. You couldn't even make a call when you wanted to. That may have been a "rural thing" that city dwellers didn't have to deal with growing up though.


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Old 10-01-2015, 12:26 PM   #24
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So here's a more recent cost comparison, and fairly apples-apples. I recalled that we switched my MIL over from AT&T to VOIP in April 2013.

Her typical AT&T bill was $58/month (I subtracted ~ $1 of out-of-area calls from that, as that varied month-month). As I mentioned, her calling area was very limited, she could not call her daughter's local cell phone w/o incurring extra charges.

After ~ $85 in startup costs to switch to VOIP (number port, obi-100 box, start-up fees, etc), her bill is right around $15/month, a $43/month savings (or 74% savings if you prefer). She calls whoever (whomever?) she wants. We've got call blocking options, call forwarding options (which we used when she was in the hospital), voice mail that alerts us via email. I can log in and see if her phone is off hook. I set up a 'dial plan' in the obi-100 box, so she does not need to dial "1" to call outside the area code, she does not need to dial either "1" or the local area code within her own area, and she does not even need to dial the exchange within her own exchange (careful with that one, it would back-fire if she ever has to call a number like XXX-9110 or XXX-4112 - the '911' and '411' are at the highest priority levels, and would get directed there! - but so far, no conflicts).

Yes, if power goes out, the phone goes out, but it forwards to her cell, and then our home phone.

No way would I go back to the old days of "We don't care, we don't have to - we're the phone company!" (Lily Tomlin's routine, mentioned earlier - all good comedy has a basis in the truth).

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Old 10-01-2015, 12:36 PM   #25
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Our bills were lower too!
So was this satire?

Or were you comparing the bill for a single number POTS land line with a whole family of mobile phone users with data plans, no added long distance charge, and maybe unlimited text/talk and/or data?

For ref, DD gets unlimited txt & data for $32.xx/month with all fees taxes. Data is throttled down after 5 GB, I don't think she ever hit that (she's on wifi whenever in range). Only 100 minutes voice though, before incurring extra charges.

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Old 10-01-2015, 12:49 PM   #26
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I'm pretty happy with today's telecom situation. We spend $10/yr on all telecom needs (other than internet at $30-35/mo).

That gets us T-mobile prepaid phone service, a freedompop VOIP cell phone that tends to stay in 4G mode everywhere in the city (= pretty good call quality), and a google voice via Obihai VOIP adapter for a "land line". Add to that the free high quality video and voice chat with skype and google hangouts and it's like we have moved forward 1000x in my lifetime (I'm only 35).

I remember reimbursing my parents for those regional long distance calls to the county next door so I could call my girlfriend during high school (somehow she went to school in our county but lived just over the border in a different county). I probably spent more on those phone calls in a couple months than I do now in a whole decade. And now I'm chatting globally instead of only to the county next door.
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Old 10-01-2015, 12:55 PM   #27
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Our bills were lower too!
Perhaps. But, one phone call or traffic check on a modern cell phone can save a person a huge amount of time in traffic, or driving to a store that's closed, etc.

Overall, I think people are pretty smart. If the higher cost of modern cell phones pocket computers was not worth the cost, they would not be buying them in such quantities.
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Old 10-01-2015, 01:11 PM   #28
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Frankly, even the idea of a phone number will fade soon enough.

DS is on our "family plan" and so I see his usage. Single digit minutes each month. It's similar to him skipping the TV part of his cable installation in his apartment. Just internet for him.

Do we ever call him? FaceTime audio is better quality for voice, so we use that. We "call" him using his ID, not a number. There are lots of voice and video alternatives to "phone service".

Even the phone companies are clued in on this. We recently switched to a new plan that is based on data usage. Phone and texting is unlimited to anyone in North America.
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Old 10-01-2015, 01:37 PM   #29
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Many years ago, I installed a second receiver in my apartment without Ma Bell's permission (or paying an additional fee) and they actually called me and said they'd disconnect my service if I didn't remove the unauthorized handset.
My dad had purchased some illicit handsets from Canada Bell and installed them in our house. We would hide the extra phones if we needed a repair.

He cursed up a storm when the repairman "cleaned up" the extra wiring (all the extensions) after a visit.

(And yes - he rewired it again so we'd have the extra extensions.)
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Old 10-01-2015, 02:22 PM   #30
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IMHO.... deregulation (Banking, Utils, etc.) have simply lined the pockets of mega corps.
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Old 10-01-2015, 02:30 PM   #31
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I remember growing up 99.99% reliable didn't mean much when you were on a party line. You couldn't even make a call when you wanted to. That may have been a "rural thing" that city dwellers didn't have to deal with growing up though.
I've heard of party lines but never used one, even in the 1950's growing up. We had one telephone, it was black, had a dial, and sat on a special "telephone table" in the living room.
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Old 10-01-2015, 02:39 PM   #32
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IMHO.... deregulation (Banking, Utils, etc.) have simply lined the pockets of mega corps.
Hmm, hard to see that in all cases.

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Old 10-01-2015, 03:41 PM   #33
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samclem, I'd say that a good portion of the price reduction in airfares was accompanied by SIGNIFICANT deterioration in the quality of the service- smaller seats, no food, fewer nonstop flights, more baby planes (with fewer amenities). I could go on. If you want the experience you had before de-regulation you pretty much have to pay double (or more) for Business Class. Even then it may be "Business Class" in a baby jet, with a connection on a flight that used to be nonstop, and the TSA to deal with.
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Old 10-01-2015, 03:52 PM   #34
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I can't remember the last time I had a dropped call, and poor connections - that happened with landlines some too, don't kid yourself. I'd never want to go back to a landline, ours was $31/mo and extra for long distance when we dropped it who knows how many years ago (at least 10).

I suppose you miss the phone book too - ours go straight into recycling, I wish "they" would stop dropping them at our houses.

Who are we going to hear from next, a slide rule salesman and a blacksmith?
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Old 10-01-2015, 04:41 PM   #35
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samclem, I'd say that a good portion of the price reduction in airfares was accompanied by SIGNIFICANT deterioration in the quality of the service- smaller seats, no food, fewer nonstop flights, more baby planes (with fewer amenities). I could go on. If you want the experience you had before de-regulation you pretty much have to pay double (or more) for Business Class. Even then it may be "Business Class" in a baby jet, with a connection on a flight that used to be nonstop, and the TSA to deal with.
Well, folks have an option now, which I think is good. They can buy business class for >less< than they used to pay for coach, and get all the goodies, if that's what they want.
People are voting with their wallets, lots more flying today than in the "good old days." And, while hub-and-spoke isn't popular, it has resulted in significant improvements in service to smaller towns. Once you get to a hub, you can get to almost anyplace.
And as far as TSA, I don't think that hoop has much to do with deregulation.
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Old 10-01-2015, 04:42 PM   #36
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My dad had purchased some illicit handsets from Canada Bell and installed them in our house. We would hide the extra phones if we needed a repair.

He cursed up a storm when the repairman "cleaned up" the extra wiring (all the extensions) after a visit.

(And yes - he rewired it again so we'd have the extra extensions.)
These guys were a little more high tech. I knew I was had when first one phone rang, then the other.
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Old 10-01-2015, 04:48 PM   #37
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I remember growing up 99.99% reliable didn't mean much when you were on a party line. You couldn't even make a call when you wanted to. That may have been a "rural thing" that city dwellers didn't have to deal with growing up though.


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I remember the party line. My grandmother used to say something and if someone questioned how she knew it, she would say "a little birdie told me so". My aunt would say that my grandmother would listen in on other people's conversations.
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Old 10-01-2015, 05:09 PM   #38
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These guys were a little more high tech. I knew I was had when first one phone rang, then the other.
How would that work?

Extension phones are all wired in parallel. Ma Bell would check the current during the ring cycle, if it was 2x (or 3x) normal, it meant there were 2 (or 3) ringers on the line.

The phones would all ring at the same time.

A trick was to disconnect the ringer on the second phone. I don't think it's too easy to discern the off-hook voltage drop between 1 and 2 phones (it's a constant current loop in that mode). And they'd have to 'catch' you when both phones were off-hook. When a POTS phone is on-hook, only the ringer circuit is switched in.

I suppose if they tried different ringer voltages (I don't think they did), they might detect one ringer kicking in at a different voltage, one might be more sensitive than the other. But I'm not sure this would even be reflected back to the source in any easy to detect way. Even then, one might ring w/o the other, then both would ring as they raised the voltage. No way I know of to ring one, then the other. It's like two light bulbs o the same switch - you can't flip the switch and have one or the other come on (not w/o some 'stuff' in between).

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Old 10-01-2015, 06:59 PM   #39
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How would that work?........-ERD50
Beats me, but I done heared it with my own ears.
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Old 10-01-2015, 07:05 PM   #40
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By opening telephony to competition, we've exchanged reliability for options. Unfortunately none of those options are reliability.
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