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Old 07-08-2008, 06:55 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by chinaco View Post
My internet connection is no where near as reliable as the phone system. I am using a Cable provider. Our internet connection is down frequently.
Well, if you have no other options for internet, that is a problem.

My internet connection has been more reliable than my land line phone. I've had the land line down for days once or twice. And the cell phones are backups in either case.

Does your landline route calls to your cell phone (or any phone you add to the list) if it can't ring your home phone? That's a nice feature of most VOIP. An important call can get through to you, even if they don't have that alternate number.

side-jacking the thread here - but what do you do about your cable being out so often? I'd be POd if I was paying a monthly rate and not getting service. We had cable back in the 80's, it was out routinely. My wife would write down the days that it was out and prorate the bill (pay maybe 25/30ths if there were 5 days that we could not watch something that month). That's one of the reasons we did not get cable when we moved. My wife wants it now for one or two programs she likes. I'm fighting, I'm unlikely to win. There is no 'winning' in such situations .

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Old 07-08-2008, 06:58 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
I'd be concerned with Vonage long term health. They floated the $17 IPO after their plan to get bought up by some big fish failed, and they now are trading below $2. Another VOIP provider went belly up, and people who prepaid for one year were left high and dry. I doubt that will happen with AT&T, but no guarantee. But I do feel more secure than with Vonage.
If you look at how they have done as they have grown, it seems like the are heading in the right direction. Three years ago, they only had about 8% of the revenue they have now, and the expenses are not growing at the same rate as their revenue, so their losses are going down from $340 million to $260 million. Whether the growth will continue is unknown, but it seems like they spend a lot of money on the maintenance and overhead of their employees. If they just charged an extra $3 or so extra a month, it would probably still attract many new customers and keep old ones with a good amount of revenue growth, but we will see how they move forward.
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Old 07-08-2008, 07:42 AM   #23
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Just thought of a service problem I had a few months ago with Vonage. The Vonage box at the lake was cooked (lightning?). Took 2 calls and a few hours from my cell to finally determine the box was gone. So the tech tells me the box will be replaced for free provided I return the old box within 15 days. If I do not return the fried box, I get billed $109.

So the new box comes pronto ... I imediately stuff the old box in the same packing. No shipping label provided so I address the box and drop it at the post office. A month later my credit card is billed $109. So I call customer service. They claim the box was never received. I explain what I did ... no shipping label ... returned to the same address ...blah, blah, blah. They aggree to credit my card.

Next month no credit. Call again, they agree to credit the card. Next month, no credit. So I pulled out the stops, told the customer service rep I was switching to COMCAST if the credit was not issued within 24 hours ... credit issued.
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Old 07-08-2008, 07:45 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by BunsGettingFirm View Post
It sounds like CFB's old VOIP companies were startups in the late '90s and early '00s.
Vonage, AT&T's Callvantage and Sunrocket, all between 2003 and 2005. Three of the largest companies at a period in time where they were fairly mature as businesses.

Vonage took over a week to respond to emails and while their tech support people were friendly and quick to offer a monthly credit, they werent that good about solving problems.

Callvantage closed down with 30 days notice. After the pacbell/sbc thing and renaming to at&t, I see they offer a service with the same name these days. The service worked fine until they made some firmware changes to their TA that caused a bunch of problems. Then they decided to stop selling the service due to lack of customer interest.

Sunrocket's product, on the same ISP with the same modem and router, had sporadically awful call quality. They blamed everything on every other part of my setup, even though vonage and callvantage had decent call quality with the same components. To say their tech support was staffed by trained monkeys would be an insult to trainers and monkeys everywhere. Then they went out of business by posting a message on their web site saying they were gone. Took me a couple of weeks to get my phone number back and ported since there was nobody left at sunrocket to 'release' it.

Whenever I had problems, all three blamed everything except their TA and service as the culprit. I was regularly asked to run exhaustive tests, reboot and reconfigure equipment.

To be fair, I think I had some troubles with my ISP from time to time that contributed to some of the sunrocket problems. Cable and DSL are more geared to provide overall throughput for downloads and uploads with some packet loss and short periods of no traffic. VOIP doesnt require much in the way of raw throughput, but packet drops, latency and jitter are very important.

But I do know a lot of people who just plug the thing in, only use it for phone calls, and never have a problem. Vonage has been around a while and their product is good. But they've been cutting tech support staff and the patent infringement lawsuits are threatening to put them out of business.

Just be can run into a bunch of trouble. For me it wasnt worth saving $10-15 a month and getting a very low Wife Acceptance Factor. Plus having a toddler in the house made the phone a little more important.
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
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Old 07-08-2008, 08:13 AM   #25
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We've had a cable modem for internet since 1997, our area was the test area when Roadrunner first started.

We rarely have internet outages and when we do, we know it right away - no lights blinking on the router, no internet connection.

We've had 3 times within the last 5 years or so when the phone line (Ameritech/SBC/At&T) was dead and we didn't even know about it. We don't use the phone a lot and didn't miss the few phone calls we do get. Once was a problem on the line on the next block, another time was one of our home phones that died, another time was a branch that had knocked the wire down during an storm.

So far, so good with Vonage. Works for us. When we are empty nesters we may just drop the landline completely and save the $19 a month.
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