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Telephone Over Cable
Old 01-22-2009, 01:49 PM   #1
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Telephone Over Cable

My cable and Internet provider (suddenlink) is offering telephone service for $13/month. I'm assuming this is different from VoIP, yes? Anyone use this? Disadvantages?
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Old 01-22-2009, 01:55 PM   #2
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We have been our phone over the internet for over 3 years now. The service works just fine and we have unlimited long distance for the US and a couple of overseas areas (but I am not sure which, since we do not use the OS capabilities). Our cost is bundled with Cable Internet and TV so I am not sure of the individual cost - but I am sure it is a lot more than $13.00 a month. I do not have any disadvantages to report. We did have a couple of "outages" the first year but no problems whatsoever the past couple or years.
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Old 01-22-2009, 01:57 PM   #3
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Only issue is if you lose your internet connection to the house, you lose the phone. But that occurs about as much as losing your regular phone line. I've had the setup for 3 years or so with no problems.
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Old 01-22-2009, 01:58 PM   #4
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I had held off from going with my cable providers telephone service, but I'm going to make the switch this week or next (getting closer to the top on my to-do list). One of the reasons I held off were that 911 systems and some cable/VoIP services were not completely compatible (i.e., location information was not sent by all services or not received by some 911 systems). In the area of cable phone services that seems to be fixed, at least locally.

The other reason I did not make the switch earlier was hurricane related. In the past, when the electricity went out (along with cable), my plain old telephone worked just fine. But, when we lost power with Ike, the phones went out at the same time as everything else, and when the power came on they came back at the same time. There not being any reason to not make the switch now I'm going for it.

My only caution to you would be to make sure that the cable phone service is completely compatible with your 911 service. Calling for help is one of those things that is not important until you need it, and when you need it you want the call to work perfectly.
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Old 01-22-2009, 02:01 PM   #5
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Phone over cable is different than VoIP, more similar to TV over cable. It's pretty good quality, but you lose the network with a power outage, vs a regular telephony landline. Could be a problem in case of an emergency. Most home security systems require a dedicated analog service, if that's an issue. But in general, I think it's a pretty good deal, especially if you can get a phone/tv/internet package.
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Old 01-22-2009, 02:02 PM   #6
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We switched from Qwest to Cox Cable (sorry Connie). Since we already had cable and internet with Cox it came out to about $5 a month cheaper with 60 minutes free long distance and some additional features like caller ID.

No problems with the service. It is 911 compatible but have not tried it.
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Old 01-22-2009, 02:08 PM   #7
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I just called, and it comes to $15.26 with tax, and includes unlimited long distance, caller ID, call waiting, etc.

Our current average monthly bill is $25.
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Old 01-22-2009, 02:31 PM   #8
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Phone over cable is different than VoIP,
How is it different? I thought it was just VOIP technology, bundled through your cable provider.

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Old 01-22-2009, 02:51 PM   #9
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It doesn't necessarily have to use Internet protocol. They could just multiplex in your phone signal, as they do the TV signal. Just guessing here.
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Old 01-22-2009, 02:56 PM   #10
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If you loose electric power, you also loose internet phone connection. Telco provides the power for POTS (plain old telephone) line. The Internet terminal equipment requires power from the homeowner. So if you go that route, have backup for your internet modem.
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Old 01-22-2009, 03:02 PM   #11
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Just to add that after that Ohio hurricane in September, I was without electricity (and cable) for six days; the landline worked all that time.

Neighbor had (lack of) phone through cable; did have a cell for back up but had let battery run down. They (and many others) were at local electronics stores buying a recharger for the car.
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Old 01-22-2009, 03:05 PM   #12
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We switched from Qwest to Cox Cable
Same here. Only one problem so far - the cable went out for a few hours, and I had no phone, tv or internet.
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Old 01-22-2009, 03:20 PM   #13
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How is it different? I thought it was just VOIP technology, bundled through your cable provider.

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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
It doesn't necessarily have to use Internet protocol. They could just multiplex in your phone signal, as they do the TV signal. Just guessing here.
OK, that is technically possible. I just wasn't aware that anyone was doing it.

But then again, I don't have cable either

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Old 01-22-2009, 03:42 PM   #14
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Neighbor had (lack of) phone through cable; did have a cell for back up but had let battery run down. They (and many others) were at local electronics stores buying a recharger for the car.
I'd suggest getting a cheapo $20 car inverter (transformer) that plugs into the "cigarette lighter" at 12 VDC and puts out 120 V AC. I think my 100 watt inverter can power the VOIP adapter and cable modem adequately if I need phone service in an emergency. As long as the cable connection still works. It should since it is underground.

Or use your inverter to plug in your cell phone to recharge since 90% of households have cell phones these days.
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Old 01-22-2009, 06:30 PM   #15
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OK, that is technically possible. I just wasn't aware that anyone was doing it.

But then again, I don't have cable either

-ERD50
That's what it is, AFAIK. It wasn't really in my area when I was working in the FiOS lab, but since we (Ma Bell) were competing with cable, I was sort of paying attention. I know it's not straight VoIP, being as the IP in VoIP is internet protocol and there's no packet switching, but they do compress the digital signal and for all I know once it gets out of the neighborhood they integrate it into VoIP.

Truly, though, who cares? It all comes down to cost, call quality, and reliability. I think that except for the outages when there are power problems, cable and VoIP are fairly mature technologies right now and worth consideration. And unless you have an analog phone in the house, it won't matter if you have regular telco connectivity, since the digital phones won't work with the power off anyway.
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:29 PM   #16
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I just called, and it comes to $15.26 with tax, and includes unlimited long distance, caller ID, call waiting, etc.
Our current average monthly bill is $25.
Our average monthly bill is about $26, and any competitor charging less than that is offering an introductory rate. Considering the fees to get back a landline, they can lock you in and then jack you up.

When we've had power outages and hurricanes, the only working communications systems have been the landline phones and text messages. Our local cable provider has been having quite a bit of server trouble keeping up their digital phone service, but this time it's fixed fo' real and they really mean it...
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Old 01-23-2009, 09:03 AM   #17
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I was going to say the same thing - $15/month seems very low and is probably an introductory rate. Somewhere in the fine print it probably says so, and what the cost will be afterwards.

I recently switched my phone to Comcast cable, and like it so far. I like that my bill is the same amount every month, I love caller id (which I never had before), and the online 'voice message center' is nice - I can see online what calls came in, who I called, and listen to my voicemail on the internet.
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Old 01-23-2009, 10:46 AM   #18
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Yes, I'm worried about the introductory rate business. I asked "Is that an introductory rate?" and the rep said "No, that is the rate that is locked in."

But she didn't say for how long it's locked in. Could be two weeks.
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Old 01-23-2009, 06:36 PM   #19
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Called again and nailed them down on the rate. It is locked in for "at least" one year, at which point it would go to $30. So, it's not worth it for us (we spend maybe $2/month on long distance). We'd save $120 in the first year but would have the hassle/set up fees of switching back.

Thanks for helping me avoid a mistake.
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Old 01-24-2009, 09:17 AM   #20
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Not sure how all cable systems work but ours apparently have repeaters or something that need to be powered along the road. When we loose power and I fire up the generator I still don't have an internet connection. We loose power multiple times per year from a few minutes to a few days and often when I hear the sound my mail program makes when it gets new mail, it is my first indication that power is back on.

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