This blog is a way for me to share hard learned lessons about money with those who are just starting out on their own. I hope it's a way for you to avoid making the mistakes I made, and to benefit from my experiences

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ode to good old traditional telephone

In my previous post, I wrote about a fascinating new development in telephone technology. Now I'm going to tell you why I won't be buying it. Reliability.

The traditional telephone is over 100 years old. With age and regulation, the telephone companies have made traditional telephone service utterly reliable. Every time I pick up the phone, the friendly dial tone is there waiting for me. Every time I dial (assuming I dial the right number), the connection is made. My traditional phone services has worked during cable outages, storms, electrical outages, and even after the Loma Prieta earthquake. There are no mysterious outages. There is no doubt that when I dial 911, it'll connect to the right emergency response center, and they'll know who and where I am.

I can't tell you how many times my cable internet stopped working for no apparent reason, or recently my DSL modem died, again for no apparent reason.
How often does your computer mysteriously lock up? If phone is routed through the computer, you're screwed when that happens too.

Traditional phone service is also competitively priced with newer VOIP phone services too, if you shop for it. My traditional local phone bill is about $17 per month with taxes and junk fees. My separate long distance bill is usually under $2. When I get those calls from Comcast or some long distance company asking me to switch, I tell them my total phone bill is less than $20, beat that. So far, they've always said they can't. I think Comcast is advertising $39.99 for phone and all the long distance you can eat. What a rip off? For that price, I can have my regular phone and about 9 1/2 hours of long distance a month (at 4 cents a minute with no monthly fees or minimum usages), like I'd ever use that much!

I'd bet 80% of the people who buy VOIP from Vonage or their cable company, can get a much more reliable service and better price from their local phone company and a competing long distance company, then they ever could from a VOIP competitor. Oh yeah, and they don't have to worry about their old telephone company going belly up and screwing them, like SunRocket just did.

Maybe when VOIP can claim a track record of going years without an outage, will I be tempted to switch.

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